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December 19, 2006

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    I learned some good lessons from Vietnam. First, there must be a clear mission. Secondly, the politics ought to stay out of fighting a war. There was too much politics during the Vietnam War. There was too much concern in the White House about political standing.

DeciderBoy

The important question is: what should we, as a country

Short of a coup or revolution, there is nothing that can be done to the Signing-Statement Presidency. Enjoy.

I think the 20k will have a clear mission. Bush doesn't have to you the plan, or even the JCS.

I think the 20k will be force protection while Bush cuts the Air Force loose on resistant urban areas. We are going to need all the force protection we can get.

Do I need a link? Hakim has been asking for unrestricted airstrikes for years. Maliki was told in Jordan the targets will include Sadr City.

Total War

I haven't checked the threads below, but Billmon posted today for the first time since the election.

And you really need to read Pat Lang.

[Bunches of nasty stuff deleted]

hilzoy, you remember when you made a comment pointing out that (with reference to loose nukes) Bush was Manchurian Candidate bad?

Oi.

It's hard to imagine someone doing a better job if they had been assigned to ruin the armed forces and the US's standing in the world.

Maybe up to 500000 Iraqis already slaughtered and many more sure to follow, and all these corpse are attributable to the actions of a single man. Yet despite all of this, this man manages to sleep quite well. Do you really believe this kind of man gives a fuck about a couple more dead American soldiers or what the American public in general thinks about this whole endeavor? It's only about him and his wishes and it was always that way.

Josh Marshall asks a good question: is this a surge, or a ratchet ?

raise your hand if you think, in a year, Bush will say "Well, that didn't work. Let's pull those Surge troops out."

Descent of the Dollar ...Swopa of Needlenose, and while he is not one of my usual authorities, I find nothing much wrong in the article. But this is the graf:

"That leaves Saudi Arabia as the big kahuna sticking with the dollar (which could also explain the recent supplicatory visit by the Vice-President). Moving away from dollar for the Saudis is a two-step process since the rial is pegged to the US dollar, so that's unlikely to happen unless the dollar really tanks."

Of course the Far East economies have high dollar reserves, but the Saudis (with the Chinese) are a major source of support for the dollar.

Point is:the Saudis have told us to stay in Iraq. Leaving aside the consequences of withdrawal for Iraqis;leaving aside the possible regional chaos; the economic consequences of alienating the Saudis scare me enough to worry about withdrawal.

From the perspectives of Bush and Cheney withdrawal or de-escalation may not be an option. Now if the JCS don't think a surge would help...and I really think they are trying to prevent a renewed air campaign...what would the JCS recommend, given that withdrawal and losing are not an option, and time is running out on stay-the-course?

The blog ate my comment but I tried to link to an MSNBC report that the US was sending a second aircraft carrier group to the Gulf ostensibly for "gunboat diplomacy." I wondered if anyone thought the Iranians would be intimidated enough by the second carrier group to capitulate to our demands. I thought not, and surmised that the only reason to send one is to use it.

im in ur blog eatin all ur comments

Gates saying things like:

But on the other hand, he quickly expressed his fealty to Cheney: "Mr. Vice President, thank you for administering the oath of office. I first worked closely with the Vice President when he was a very successful Secretary of Defense, and I hope some of that may rub off."

isn't making me feel any better.

Short of a coup or revolution, there is nothing that can be done to the Signing-Statement Presidency.

Impeachment.

I'll plead ignorance to the nitty-gritty details of the procedure, but isn't impeachment a long and agonizing process?

Spatikus: It can be long and drawn out, or VERY short.

It depends entirely on how the GOP feels about it.

If half of the GOP Congressmen decide that Bush has to go -- for the good of the party, or the good of the country -- then you could measure Bush's and Cheney's remaining term in office in days. The only question at that point would be who to appoint as the caretakers of the Presidency until 2008.

Actually impeachment merely requires a pair of votes -- one in the House, one in the Senate. (I believe it requires a 2/3rds vote in the Senate). If you have the votes, the debate, the reasons -- it's window dressing.

Do I think the GOP will come to that view? Only if Bush starts a war with Syria or Iran. And even then, maybe only if he authorizes the use of tactical nukes.

Spartikus: the Constitution doesn't establish any time limits: it's basically up to Congress to decide how fast or slow to move. If a bipartisan consensus exists that the President needs to go, I think the process could move very quickly.

Consider the Watergate endgame:

Monday, August 5th: The "smoking gun" transcripts that show Nixon ordering Haldeman to obstruct justice are released to Congress.

Tuesday: Nixon tells Cabinet and his family that he will not resign. Meanwhile (my recollection) a growing number of Republicans announce that they can no longer support the president.

Wednesday: Nixon meets with the House and Senate minority leaders and Senator Barry Goldwater. My recollection from later news reports was that Goldwater told Nixon that there were now only two votes against conviction in the Senate, and Goldwater wasn't going to be one of them. Essentially, he told Nixon that his choice was to resign and keep his pension, or be convicted and lose it.

Wednesday night: Nixon meets with Kissinger, finally decides to resign.

Thursday night: Nixon speaks to nation, announces his resignation effective noon Friday.

Friday noon: Nixon resignation official.

Now admittedly, a lot of that was happening outside the official process, but if Nixon had decided to tell them to go to hell, I don't think it would have taken very long to complete the process. With a 98-2 consensus for conviction in the Senate, they could have streamlined the process quite a bit.

Make that link Watergate endgame.

The GOP will countenance impeachment only if Cheney becomes President - even if only long enough to appoint a Veep, to ensure that Pelosi doesn't become President.

Leaving Cheney in office is no gain for the country: he'll pursue the same policies as Bush. Maybe worse ones, like bombing Iran.

Impeaching Bush while leaving Cheney in office doesn't gain the GOP very much politically, either, except in the very short term (i.e., keeping Pelosi out). They'll still be going into 2008 with a thoroughly discredited President as their Party leader.

No, the only thing the GOP can do is hang onto Bush and Cheney, and hope the situation in Iraq stays as it is long enough for them to hand the war over to someone else. If a Democrat wins in 2008, then the GOP will blame him or her for "losing" Iraq. If a GOP candidate wins in 2008, then the GOP will excuse whatever that person does or doesn't do as "the best that could be done, given the situation."

The important question is: what should we, as a country, do when he decides to ignore the ISG report, the Joint chiefs, and the nation.

...

Impeachment

...

It can be long and drawn out, or VERY short.
It depends entirely on how the GOP feels about it.

...

No, the only thing the GOP can do is hang onto Bush and Cheney, and hope the situation in Iraq stays as it is long enough for them to hand the war over to someone else. If a Democrat wins in 2008, then the GOP will blame him or her for "losing" Iraq. If a GOP candidate wins in 2008, then the GOP will excuse whatever that person does or doesn't do as "the best that could be done, given the situation."

What everyone else said.

The GOP is the only possible check on Bush lunacy, and it seems invested in the CaseyL strategy. After all, these are the same folks busy telling themselves that the "surge" makes sense because it was Congress that lost the Viet Nam War in 1975 since it would not appropriate another $700,000,000 in April, 1975 as the South circled the drain. (It is scary how many conservatives, including Charles, believe this utter mind rot).

In other words, people looking for insane reasons to justify an insane policy. The "urge to surge" is about finding something that enables them to avoid going from "we are not winning but we are not losing" to "we have lost." It does not matter that the "surge" has no defined mechanism for accomplishing anything -- its only purpose is as a tool for collective denial while buying time to find a political line for blaming someone else.

So "what should we do" -- denounce in the strongest terms those reponsible. This is not a time in which bipartisanship will solve anything. We are dealing with cornered rats -- treat them like that, and hopefully the country will stop drinking their kool aid.

oh, speaking of Kissinger... it looks like he's got a new job! he's gonna be working for John McCain's campaign !

sweet.

oh, speaking of Kissinger... it looks like he's got a new job! he's gonna be working for John McCain's campaign !

Only after judging the shredfest of Stephen Colbert's Countdown To Guitarmageddon...

Whether it’s sociopathy or just an iron will to denial, but we’re certainly all captives of this one deficient personality. I doubt anybody imagines that after he leaves the Presidency, he could have the grace or guilt or self-awareness, like Lyndon Johnson, to just will himself to die. No, this won’t break him. Still, stripped of the temporary mystique of office, ex-Presidents begin to look different, if not exactly find their natural level, & this one’s triviality will at long last take people’s breath away. He’ll be with us, resolutely, trivially in denial, for a long, long time. Can someone describe his post-Presidency – give him, say, 20 years – in 1000 words?

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