Friday, June 22, 2007

Uneven Development

Amir Taheri, writing in the NY Post, notes that the US has moved into the offensive in Iraq all across the military board, but the Iraqi government itself still limps along.

This uneven development is the direct consequence of what Austin Bay has always pointed out. The US has not developed a way of applying all the sources of its national power to the War on Terror. While the military has an "expeditionary" capability, that is to say, the ability to sustain itself and grow in the face of hostile action, neither the aid agencies nor the State Department has any similar capacity. Hence, whether or not it should be so, the principal policy tool has been the US Armed Forces. Not surprisingly, they have gone about doing what they do best. Attacking the enemy and building up a counterpart army. On the other hand, the State Department has from the beginning struggled to equal this feat despite the efforts of dedicated individuals. This stagnation is directly reflected in the repetitive and often monomanaical solutions offered to solve the problems facing the region: the "peace process", "engagement" with Syria and Iran; various "contact groups". Each solution upon failure is simply repackaged and renamed, then offered up as something new. But it's the same old, same old, and something further is required. In the end, despite the military's best efforts, arms alone cannot win the War on Terror. The other sources of national power have to join fight. Until they do Iraq and other places will suffer from uneven development. Long on military muscles and short in other departments.

Nothing follows.

20 Comments:

Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard it is time to face facts.

The military, and the military alone, will be our instrument in the war on terror. The State Dept, the aid groups, the media, etc. will all be allied with the enemy or useless to such a degree that they might as well be allied with the enemy.

I am shocked that you are surprised that the State Dept. offers up "contact" and dialog with enemies like Syria and Iran.

What else will they do? Do you honestly expect an institution filled with people like Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, Madeline Albright, Richard Holbrooke, and the like to offer anything but what they have spent their entire lives doing? Which is attending conferences, giving speeches, and making some political deal. That is all they can do.

And therefore, it is all they can offer.

They deny the very existence of terror, much less a war on terror. 9/11 NEVER HAPPENED! After all, to acknowledge it must be to acknowledge that their skills are at best, marginal and not at the center of the solution. That a grand bargain cannot be made, after which they will make speeches (for pay) at Davos.

Nothing will change until we have our Jacksonian revolution. And THAT will not happen until we have lost three American cities. At which point we might as well resign ourselves to the third conjecture and realize that the solution will be to kill off as the angry American public demands most of our enemies.

Why do you think Rosie and so many other of the deeply feminist/feminized ruling class deny 9/11? Because to acknowledge it's truth means their importance in the world is merely marginal. What Ron Rosenbaum in his essay called the Arrogance of Clowns.

6/22/2007 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm interested, too, in when the dadblamed idiot Iraqi's are going to start taking responsibility for themselves and start *doing* something. I cannot for the life of me understand why the legislation to share oil revenues is tied up in whatever backroom Arab committee it's disappeared into.

If Americans are doing the heavy lifting of blowing up shit and killing people, then the least the terminally inept Iraqi's could do is put their hand in the air occasionally to vote on something, and then DO it. The American State Department shouldn't have to do their voting for them, too, in addition to everything else that Americans are having to do because Iraqi's are too frightened, too stupid, or too lazy to do it for themselves.

6/22/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I get the impression that the political fracas in Iraq is over who has the power to say it, far more than what to say. Such an argument appears to preclude discussion or compromise.

6/22/2007 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Nanhcee --

Put yourself in Iraqi shoes. It is clear that the Americans will run away and not come back. Anyone with an internet connection can see that.

Iran and AQ will rule in Iraq. Immediately after the Americans leave. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Obama and Shrillary, Moveon have all made this a reality. Everyone knows this.

No one wishes to end up in a mass grave along with their family. Or in another shredder like the ones Saddam used. Would you?

6/22/2007 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doesn't it seem obvious that if they do NOT do something, it's more likely that they WILL end up shredded than if they actively step up to the plate, start batting, and change things?

It's trite, but freedom isn't free. Doesn't that idea translate into Arabic, or something?

Can you imagine America being invaded by Arabs (or Frenchmen for that matter) and Americans being as submissive, lazy, and disconnected as the Iraqi's have been since the day *before* we rolled into Baghdad?

I think all of their "initiative" DNA has been systematically bred out of them as human beings. Either that, or they're all staggering around with heat-stroke 24/7.

6/23/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

As the Clinton Regime blundered its way through history, I began to wonder why those kinds of politicians would use the military so much. After all, these were people who for the most part got into politics because of fear of WWIII or anger over Vietnam, or both.

I at first concluded that it was because the only effective instrument of power they had was the military. And when all you have is a hammer there is a powerful incentive to view every problem as being a nail.

Meanwhile, the Clintons called for the creation of Americorps, and bizarrely enough, for a spirit of national service to be re-energized among the country’s youth. They appeared to be trying to create a kind of civilian military. And today we have this:

"Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd is issuing a call for community service that aims to create the first generation in which everyone serves their country.

"Endowed as we are with so many gifts, is it too much to ask that we each give something back to this remarkable place?" the Connecticut senator said Saturday."

In the end, it is because the military remains the only organization capable of doing a great many things. NASA totally blew it when it came to developing a Space Shuttle replacement; in the same time frame the USAF developed not one new expendable space booster as had been planned, but two new vehicles - and at no greater cost – and during a time of a huge downsizing.

This fact is largely not just because of the unique military structure but also because of military attitudes. The military believes, in the end, on focusing on the mission and that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Sadly, in the Federal Government this is unique.

6/23/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Nanhcee --

The more appropriate model would be Mexico. Iraq lacks any of the civic organizations, tradition of private life and freedom, and voluntary associations like the Shriners, Lions, etc. that form private, ordinary life outside the government.

Iraqis are trapped by tribe and clan. You think of them as individuals akin to Americans and they are not so. Iraqis are tribal people, who cannot and do not exist without their tribal identity. Iraq is not a nation but a set of competing tribes.

Within a tribal context, it is clear that the AQ tribe will win in the Sunni-land, and the Iranian tribe will win in the Shia-land. Only a foolish tribe wanting to be wiped out would move against either one decisively. Since the Americans will be gone and the lesson of 1991-2 is that whoever has the most guns fills the mass graves.

Better to simply play along with the tribal winners. Since America has sounded retreat.

rwe -- Clinton may have used the military, but only to fight politically correct wars to avoid scandals at home. Thus no armor or air cover in Mogadishu, and a poll-driven craven retreat over the military's objection in Mogadishu after Black Hawk Down (Saddam's favorite movie btw). Same too with Serbia, a politically correct war designed to get "Muslims to love us" according to Sandy Burglar and Richard Holbrooke.

In no was Clinton prepared to even acknowledge reality: the Muslim War against the West, because he would have had to realize that his coterie of hangers-on were useless. What possible use would Donna Shalala, Janet Reno, Hillary, or Robert Reich have been against that challenge? Or more tellingly, "I Feel Your Pain" lip-biting Bill himself?

Anyone seeing the raucous reaction to Paris Hilton's jail term among the late night talk show audiences can sense a sea-change in the public's mood. Paris Hilton used to be the upper class twit who amused the public. Now a figure of derision and anger. A Jacksonian revolt?

6/23/2007 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger R said...

I am reminded of the bear who tries to get the honey from the hive hidden within a tree. The bees come out fighting, the bear swats at them while pushing his paw into the hive.

Soon, the bear retrieves his paw and ambers away, leaving the bees buzzing all around their hive.

The bear just wasn't that hungry.

Maybe we Americans are in a similar situation. Oh sure, we offer up all kinds of suggestions, reasons, opinions, ideas, strategies and tactics...but still the bees turn us away.

A really hungry bear will get the honey from the hive.

America just hasn't been convinced to that degree where we "give it all we got!"

You know it, I know it, and our enemies know it.

6/23/2007 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Before we walk away, make damned sure the hive is demolished.

6/23/2007 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

Nahn-cee says: "Can you imagine America being invaded by Arabs (or Frenchmen for that matter) and Americans being as submissive, lazy, and disconnected as the Iraqi's have been since the day *before* we rolled into Baghdad?"

Actually, you don't need to imagine it. It's happened, and is happening every day. Whiskey_199's reference to Paris Hilton should be instructive in this regard. If it isn't, just try thinking about that other Nahn-cee, Pelosi--who busies herself worrying about marble ceilings and the Greenland ice sheet. Our citizens cringe if anyone dares suggest we are anti-Muslim racists, and we scurry to erase such un-PC perceptions. Yikes. America has, mostly, been lulled back to sleep, where the dreams may proceed apace, as during the 1990s.

I've thought for a long time that any country in the world would be foolish to think the USA can be counted upon as an ally. The Iraqis have seen our perfidy up close and personal, after Desert Storm. You didn't read about it much in this country (although Jeffrey Goldberg did fairly well in The New Yorker a time or two), but in the European press there were many stories about what happened to the people G.H.W. Bush encouraged to rise up against Saddam in that sad little country. Some were buried alive under hot asphalt as "roads" were built in the Shi'a south. Others were not even that lucky. If the Israelis think they can count on us, they are monstrous big fools. Ditto for the South Koreans, the Taiwanese, or anyone else. American power and loyalty are a PR triumph, and not much else. Oh, the power is real enough, but the resolve to use it is pretty wimpy. That by itself should be enough to give any sentient Iraqi pause.

I don't understand it, really I don't. A Jacksonian revolution may be just what is called for. I always recall what Bill Bennett said back in the '90s, when people were urging him to run for president. He said that would be like trying to reform the Mafia by running for Godfather. He further said that when people are ready to pick up pitchforks and cudgels and march on Washington, he might be their man. I keep wondering--Are we there yet?

6/24/2007 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

Sorry--Nahncee, not Nahn-cee. I'm not sure it's a different person, but I'm making the change in the event that it is.

6/24/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Our citizens cringe if anyone dares suggest we are anti-Muslim racists, and we scurry to erase such un-PC perceptions. Yikes. America has, mostly, been lulled back to sleep, where the dreams may proceed apace, as during the 1990s.


You might want to go here and read about the various "gathering of eagles" events. It'll make you feel better about being a proactive American, and almost perky again:

http://www.gatheringofeagles.org/

6/24/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

My fellow Americans, you may wish to approach this gloomy picture from a much different door. I suggest you think about the current generation that has maintained political power for some years.

Are these people not narcissists? I say they are. And when I apply that notion to how we got into this mess, well, it becomes easier for me to think of solutions.

One man, one vote is where I begin. These clowns were voted into office, and we, the citizens for whom they work, can easily vote new members into office.

Perhaps we just need to be more careful, knowing that all around us are their brethren, in the media, in the universities, etc. It's those people who truly believe "Make love, not war" or Do your own thing" even "Hell no, we won't go!"

Feel good generation...it's all about me and what I want generation. They have been in power and now we are experiencing the results of their decisions and our passivities.

The only problem is that we have made government service such an ugly game, those who may be true and reluctant leaders want no part of this grist mill. Our fault, we've been lazy also.

So, let's vote a new direction, for new leaders, for values that are founded within the American history, for a vision that tells the world we are a part of everyone, we stand for fair play and individual freedom.

You get the picture. Let's vote!

6/24/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I suppose it could be worse. If the best the Iraqi's could come up with in their whole entire country to elect is Maliki, then maybe Hillary won't look so bad in comparison should she become President.

6/24/2007 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/24/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

nahncee,

I don't know if Maliki is the best they could find in the whole country. I have this nagging feeling that Chalabi would have been worlds better, but he somehow gained the undying enmity of the American foreign policy establishment and so was cut out. State and the CIA took active measures against him--God knoweth why. It's unpleasant when you trust foreign operators more than you trust agencies of your own government, but there you are.

In any case, none of it makes me at all sanguine about the prospect of Mrs. Clinton.

6/24/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I could be misremembering, but I seem to recall that Iraqi bloggers like Iraq the Model have unkind things to say about Mr. Chalabi, too. I seem to remember the word "thief" but most of their pique seemed to be along the lines of him living the life of luxury outside of Iraq while they were all suffering, and then trying to swoop in like a bird of prey to pick the carcass once Saddam was gone. For some reason, ordinary Iraqi's seem to resent that.

6/24/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Crazy Marzouq Redneck Muslim said...

Betsybounds and r,

The problem is the voters who count (informed voters) and the revolutionaries needed to march on DC with cudgels are too busy working/producing to support the noisy ignorant clients of the socialist Left.

The other problem is that damn "mafia" who provides the poor choices for us to vote for.

Salaam eleikum, dang.....

6/25/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Amir Ali Tayyab said...

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Amir Ali Tayyab
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6/26/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger hoserjoe said...

whiskey_199 said:"The military, and the military alone, will be our instrument in the war on terror. The State Dept, the aid groups, the media, etc. will all be allied with the enemy or useless to such a degree that they might as well be allied with the enemy."

Oh for the good old days before the Crusaders were replaced by the State Dept. When faced with insubordinate rebels, kill all their leaders and force the remaining citizens to convert to Christianity. Hang all rebels without trial until the message sinks in. Compare Haiti with Bermuda, for instance. Or Iraq with Dubai.

6/28/2007 01:02:00 AM  

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