« Happy Thanksgiving | Main | Aids and the Church »

November 28, 2003

Comments

I think it's kind of cute the way righties are so excited about Bush's trip to Iraq. There's the sparkle of Christmas morning surprise in their comments about it.

Yes, it's good he went. But why should anyone be giving him extra brownie points for doing his job?

I think it's kind of cute the way righties are so excited about Bush's trip to Iraq. There's the sparkle of Christmas morning surprise in their comments about it.
Yes, it's good he went. But why should anyone be giving him extra brownie points for doing his job?

Because part of a President's job is to inspire. It's been a very long time since we had an inspiring President.

von, this doesn't seem to add up. You can't say you criticize those who advocate unilateralism, and then say the only interest that can really be served is the national interest. Because that is unilateralism.

It's certainly the problem most people have with US foreign policy - namely that, if the US acts unilaterally on the global stage, only the US public can have any effect on that, politically.

spc67, I know it's anathema, but I'm going to say it anyway. The previous Prez -- yeah, that one -- did a fair amount of inspiring himself. You may not have liked, agreed, or noticed it. But that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

And again, kudos to Shrub for the visit. Though I can do with a little less of the Fox News cant re the way he put himself in harm's way, heck, I took greater risks driving to Whole Foods to buy a turkey.

Which was damn tasty.

von, this doesn't seem to add up. You can't say you criticize those who advocate unilateralism, and then say the only interest that can really be served is the national interest. Because that is unilateralism.

Hardly. Multilaterism is a natural part of a nation's national interest. But of course this is the core of the disagreement, and yes, I'm only a feeble European.

No, surely not, TreeLover - unilateralism means 'one-sided'. If a nation's foreign policy is serving the nation's interests alone, that is therefore on the side of the nation itself, and taking into account no one else, and therefore unilateralist.

Multilateralism, involving the opinions and interests of others, which is what multilateralism is in foreign policy, is UN-natural, I would say. And that's not an intended pun involving the initials 'UN'.

And I'm European too.

"I think it's kind of cute the way righties are so excited about Bush's trip to Iraq. There's the sparkle of Christmas morning surprise in their comments about it.

Yes, it's good he went. But why should anyone be giving him extra brownie points for doing his job?"

Well, it's certainly a rather less loathsome reaction than those from your side of the aisle who think either GWB should have come into Baghdad standing astride a crop-duster yelling "Nyah nyah nyah nyah!" to demonstrate his manhood (nice timing for that sentiment, coming forty years after that day in Dallas), or that the whole trip was a plot to upstage HRC (which would make Rove, et al., psychic, since the trip was planned weeks ago).


Edward, does your crowd ever get tired of getting its ass kicked by someone they think is a moron? More to the point, does it ever get tired of *self-inflicted injuries* resulting from pathetic attempts to slam a guy you think is a moron?

Just wondering.


von,

Extraordinarily clever - worth the wait.

This is revealing. Edward leads off with 47 words re Bush's trip to Iraq. Not a single word, not one, relates to his intelligence, or even his competence. The only criticism in the post relates to the way some conservatives reacted to the trip. Again, let me repeat, there was not a single word that related to the Prez's brainpower.

Then M. Scott shears a bolt and replies with this:

"Edward, does your crowd ever get tired of getting its ass kicked by someone they think is a moron? More to the point, does it ever get tired of *self-inflicted injuries* resulting from pathetic attempts to slam a guy you think is a moron?"

Wow. Now either this is just the Conservo-Bot's default setting, or maybe Scott is able to read between the lines, and I mean really really between the lines, or maybe we should retire this tired trope or at the very least drag it out when it is moderately, or even thinly, appropriate.

Clinton inspiring? Nah. Competent? Arguably, Intelligent? Certainly. Charming? Apparently. Inspiring? I genuinely can't think of a memorable and inspiring Clinton moment. (I am happy to be educated)

Inspiring Prez's (partial list) Reagan, JFK, FDR,TR, Lincoln, Jackson, Washington

Non-inspiring Prez's (partial list) Clinton, Carter, Nixon, Ford, LBJ, Coolidge, Hoover,

"or maybe Scott is able to read between the lines,"

No, I'm just familiar with Edward's mindset, and my thoughts on the other matters you addressed were in the paragraph above, which you thoughtfully omitted. Can't imagine why.

Don't flatter yourself Scott. You may log many hours reading left-wing responses to new events, but you hardly have a noteworthy grasp on my mindest. If you did, you'd have known that my critique was not of Bush, but of you and rightwing citizens like you who have to work so hard to find reasons to praise Bush that you give him extra points for doing things other presidents would have done without all the fanfare.

As far as the left wing getting our asses kicked. If that's the only reason Bush went to Baghdad, Scott...to kick the Dem's asses, then I take back any positive credit I gave him for going. Care to rephrase?

Clinton remains the single most inspiring President in my lifetime. I literally danced in the streets the night he was elected and he remains a hero to me.

I know his personal life offended many people past the point at which they could not admire his other qualities, but that's puritanical hypocrisy in too many people, and simply naivity in many others.

Fact remains that he was the first president in my lifetime to make me optimistic about the future. Perfect? No? Inspirational? Without any doubt at all.

"As far as the left wing getting our asses kicked. If that's the only reason Bush went to Baghdad, Scott...to kick the Dem's asses, then I take back any positive credit I gave him for going. Care to rephrase?"

It's not the going that's kicking their asses--it's the deranged reaction to it. If it had been confined to DU, it wouldn't have been a problem, but even some of the Nine Dwarves couldn't restrain themselves from whining about the visit, and a lot of "respectable" lefty blogger sites and their comment sections have come unhinged over the visit. Compare that to the right's reaction to HRC's visit to Afghanistan, and you'll see the difference between a shrug and a hissy fit.

Of course, I suspect you knew that's what I meant, but I may be giving *you* too much credit.

"Clinton remains the single most inspiring President in my lifetime. I literally danced in the streets the night he was elected and he remains a hero to me."

Which explains a lot, really.

M. Scott...mindreader!!!


Spc67....In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton was more than appropriate, he was in fact inspiring. There are other examples. But this is like explaining baseball to a tree*. (Not that you're a tree mind you, but let's agree that when it comes to Bubba, your mind is made up.)

*Or in Scott's case, compassion to a smug a-hole.

Edward,

Other than the hysterical picture in my head of you "dancing in the streets" on election night 1992 (the flowing robes, the grace) What memorable and inspiring moments from the Clinton Presidency remain with you?

"Spc67....In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton was more than appropriate, he was in fact inspiring."

You mean like how he tried to blame the whole thing on right-wing "hate" radio? Yes, very inspiring and Trumanesque, that.

spc67, google the damn thing and you'll get to the text of the speech Clinton gave in OK city. Then take off the partisan blinders (I'm wearing mine now, but removed them long enuf to appreciate the Bush trip to iraq.) Read it and tell me what you think. Or maybe you remember it. I'd suggest the same to Scott, but when he's in the Smug A-hole mode there's just no dealing with him.

Harley,

Tone it down. Our posts passed in the ether.

Having said that, I went back and read the speech. Very good speech.

But it doesn't resonate or inspire like "Ask not..." or "Tear down that wall" or "We have nothing to fear..." or (from your favorite) "some men see things as they are..." or "With malice towards none..."

But it was a fine speech.

BTW,

I'm actually surprised I didn't remember it.

As for partisan blinders, I have none. I didn't vote for W in 2000 as an example. I do however wear a very heavy pair of extended ideological blinders!

spc67, where can I pick up the heavy duty variety? I've pretty much worn down my current pair, and am receiving unpleasant truths as a consequence. And I'm hoping to convince you to keep the W-free streak intact in '04.

But then I'm an incurable optimist, among other things.

spc67, where can I pick up the heavy duty variety?

I made mine aftr spending four years at a VERY lefty college. Can only be repaired through constant reading. Unfortunately, that causes epiphanies which require drilling occasional holes in strategic places.

I've pretty much worn down my current pair, and am receiving unpleasant truths as a consequence.

Yeah, being wrong on the death penalty, gay rights and the First Gulf War's end (among other things)insured that I keep the drill handy for occasional ken expansion.

And I'm hoping to convince you to keep the W-free streak intact in '04.

I'm open minded, though if it were today I'd vote W. But of the nine? Only Lieberman and Clarke have a prayer with me.

But then I'm an incurable optimist, among other things.

Good way to live, isn't it?

Von, my reading of military science is about 2000 years out of date, so I can't comment on the 3 weeks you praise - but I wonder if there has been some First-Gulf-War-like Patriots-worked early interpretation of Gulf II, especially given the emerging view that Saddam had his best troops fade this spring to snipe at us now. Here for example is a report about supply problems - I think I've heard a variety of similiar complaints.
Obviously we took Iraq quickly - I'm wondering how we performed relative to the ideal, given the balance of forces.

Apologies for the delay in responding . . . .

von, this doesn't seem to add up. You can't say you criticize those who advocate unilateralism, and then say the only interest that can really be served is the national interest. Because that is unilateralism.

James Casey, I think we're getting hung up on means and ends. I certainly advocate unilateralism with respect to the ends -- I am a firm believer in attempting to serve one master well rather than many masters poorly. In that sense, as a US citizen, my end is always to achieve the best result for the US. I expect citizens of other nations to behave the same.

Now, as for the means, note that I praised "coalitions" as being "useful," and did so in purely practical terms. I did not praise "multilateralism," as Treelover does. I do not believe in multilateralism per se. Very few nations, however, will be able to achieve their national interest(s) without the aid of other nations, particularly when that national interest involves prosecuting a distant war on multiple fronts (as is the current case with the US). Indeed, we will not succeed in Iraq if we don't get more of the G8 involved.

Von, my reading of military science is about 2000 years out of date, so I can't comment on the 3 weeks you praise . . .

Mine is too. I meant my praise in terms of apparent progress, Rilkefin. And, I doubt that the lingering low-level insurgency or not (and it is a very low-level) was part of some master plan by Saddam.

No, give Bush, Rumsfeld and (especially) the generals their due: it was a brilliant strategy.

I think it's kind of cute the way righties are so excited about Bush's trip to Iraq.

Edward, it wasn't required that Bush go to Iraq. I personally found the surprise visit touching. (But, then, I cried at Steel Magnolias,* so what the heck do I know?)

Thanks for the kind words, RBD.

von

*See: "There Once Was a Man, and He Couldn't Cry, Post."

Sorry to disrupt that image you have in your mind spc67, but no robes, and certainly no grace. Just unbridled joy.

As for M Snott Eiland, is it my reaction you're calling deranged? If so, your POV is not worth discussing. If not, please provide a few choice examples.

As for M Snott Eiland,

Quit it, kids -- if you must ad hom, do it with some style. (Compare the Harley v. Macallan death-dances on Tacitus.org.)

I'm citing Edward because he's the most recent offender, not the only one.

apologies...you're right of course.


What memorable and inspiring moments from the Clinton Presidency remain with you?

I started thinking about this Spc67, and each time I listed something, it struck me that Bush could be credited with the same thing...almost each time, anyway.

But then I realized that I should clarify which Bush. Because what 43 might be credited with, 41 clearly lacked. His commitment to diversity in his cabinet and judicial nominees, his commitment to AIDS and prescription drugs for seniors, his token tolerance for gays, his inclusiveness...in a nutshell his compassion (however put on, it's a far different rhetoric from his father's).

Why?

I credit Clinton. Honestly. He changed so much of the dialog that made it impossible for Bush Jr. to return to his father's positions on social issues.

So how was he inspiring? Ask Bush. He's the clearest indication of Clinton's legacy.

MSE, re Rove being psychic, here's some evidence that the White House could have made their plan in reaction to knowledge of Senator Clinton's trip.

Harley, Edward, I wish you'd call Mr. Eiland a smug jerk (instead of "a-hole" - or just plain "smug") and not mock his name. I'm not recommending the tea-and-crumpets atmosphere of Tacitus - just calling, as a fellow leftie, for higher-toned (more effective) invective.

Re name mangling, it's "rilkefan", von. (As a German speaker I find it painful to end a sentence that way. Anyway...) Basically you've replied, Nope. Has anyone seen an informed discussion of the effectiveness of the prosecution of the war from someone outside the Pentagon and politics? In particular, from the former officers who were critical about the low numbers of troops and the lengths of the supply lines? I'd be inclined to accept a positive assessment from them.

Rilkefan,

I'll apologize again to my fellow posters for dragging this thread down with my grade-school response to M. Scott Eiland, but he has a particularly unpleasant habit of ignoring the context of left-wingers' posts and letting rip with his incessant rant against a perceived shared "mindset."

Out of nowhere, he'll start swinging wildly, completely ad hom himself. After a while, you realize a civilized response is lost on him. He seems to think he's zinging us with his schoolyard-bully taunts...and occasionally, the old adage "When in Rome..." seems appropriate...

I could just ignore him, and suspect that's the best response, but I have this kernel of respect for his opinions, so I let myself get caught up in my response.

I started thinking about this Spc67, and each time I listed something, it struck me that Bush could be credited with the same thing...almost each time, anyway
But then I realized that I should clarify which Bush. Because what 43 might be credited with, 41 clearly lacked. His commitment to diversity in his cabinet and judicial nominees, his commitment to AIDS and prescription drugs for seniors, his token tolerance for gays, his inclusiveness...in a nutshell his compassion (however put on, it's a far different rhetoric from his father's).
Why?
I credit Clinton. Honestly. He changed so much of the dialog that made it impossible for Bush Jr. to return to his father's positions on social issues.
So how was he inspiring? Ask Bush. He's the clearest indication of Clinton's legacy.

I understand that W's choices came after Clinton's. I doubt the causality you seek. I don't think W ever held his father's positions, so had no desire to "return" to them.


rilkefan,

You would accept a positive assessment of the campaign only from the TV gen-gen's that made fools of themselves? The fellows who weren't afraid to stand up and make idiots of themselves can't really be expected to confirm their own blindness.

There are also vital elements of the strategy and tactics employed that simply won't be publicly discussed for a long time. You may be of the opinion that the ME Freedom & Democracy tour is over but I believe that to be an incorrect assumption. I don't have any idea where the next gig is going to be and I'm not sure that the backup band is necessary but I do know the show will go on.

RDB, I didn't say only those guys would impress me, and I'm not qualified to argue what-ifs with high-ranking officers or random posters. I'm just maintaining some skepticism given that the people I've read praising the strategy/execution have strong reasons to do so, whatever their neutral assessment is. I take your point about loose lips - on the other hand, an invasion of Syria, Iran, or say Pakistan would be a rather different matter, and lessons from Iraq might well be of limited usefulness.

Edward, no need to apologize twice, we cross-posted. If MSE bugs you, I don't know how you manage to read Tacitus, who's just gone on one of his bi-weekly the-left-is-ranting-spluttering-insane jags.

rilkefan,

Thanks for clarifying. The most neutral (and also the most negative) assessments of the campaign will be done in presentations to our War Colleges by field grade and general officers who participated. You can check here and do a search. Finding tactical assessment reports is difficult. The colleges focus more on strategic assessments than tactical assessments. There are also DoD sites that contain reports - none that I've found have a detailed tactical assessment.

Rilkefan...

'Smug a-hole' is the kinder, edited formulation. (I considered 'dill-wad' and 'bung-brain' but both seemed too obscure. 'Smug jerk' has a whiff of the schoolyard about it, and while that might be a better fit with some of Scott's ranting, I dunno, it just didn't seem as appropriate. As for the effectiveness of the latter, as the great Sean Connery once said (in The Untouchables):

"He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way. And that's how you get Capone."

(And yeah, I'm exaggerating for effect, but it's one of my favorite movie lines and needs repeating a regular intervels.)

RDB - thanks, guess I'll wait for the experts out there to do the searching - that site is a bit hard to navigate, e.g., "We regret that counter-terrorism security policies temporarily preclude our posting advance notice of our conferences and events on this page" - and I suspect I'd need the digested version.

Does the military not bring in outside consultants to do these kinds of assessments as well? As a scientist, that's what I'd hope. I've read that it took a physicist to show that the Gulf-I Patriot performance was poor, even counterproductive (militarily).

Harley - "a-hole" sounds schoolyardish to me. Why not call him a block, a stone, a worse than senseless thing? (Or is that Macallan?) Or just refute the substance of his remarks - it's more insulting.

Rilkefan, I like 'worse than senseless thing' a lot and will save it for a later date. Refuting ad hom, however, is usually a waste of time, and it only inspires more of same.

It's like hitting a tennis ball against a wall. The fact that the ball comes back does not indicate that the wall is an expert tennis player.

Rilkefan said:

I'm not recommending the tea-and-crumpets atmosphere of Tacitus

Actually, I like the tea and crumpets at Tacitus. Makes the posts coniderably more concise than they would be at one of the sites where [email protected]$#tard or a#$%ole is used every other sentence.

Plus, it's fun to watch all those crumpets flying through the air when someone flips a table (tipped a couple, myself).

MattK - perhaps I should have said, "the often tense t&c atmosphere at T, where emotional code words are used in place of banned ones." I sort of hope this site becomes a less icy-glares version of tacitus.org, which is why I'm posting here. Maybe it's not possible to have a public, amiable, full-spectrum discussion though. I certainly suspect the current blog model will be impossible in the future as the absolute number of posting crazies of all stripes increases.

rilkefan,

"Does the military not bring in outside consultants to do these kinds of assessments as well?

Sure they do. If you look at contibutors to the SSI on that site, you will find a lot more Dr.'s than Gen.'s as designators.

Weapons system evaluations are usually found at DoD sites. You don't see much in the way of negative reports at DoD because a report noting a deficiency in a deployed system becomes an intelligence matter. That doen't mean the reports don't exist - just that they are not published. Jane's Defence Weekly does a good job of analyzing weapons systems and RAND does a good job of performance analysis.

My interpretaion of von's comment concerning "flubbed" would be that Bush erred in choices made between the intelligence estimates provided by the CIA, State and Defense. State was given the overall responsibility for post war conduct and I would say that it might be a bit premature to assess its' performance.

von,

I'm voting with rilkefan concerning hopes for what the site will become.

I appreciate the effort that you, Katherine and Moe are making. Getting your posting rules up will be helpful.

RDB, I can't (without actually doing a fair bit of work) assess whether the Dr.'s you point to are part of the military-industrial complex, whether their research is funded by the DoD, ... Anyway, what would be more useful to me than this discussion would be a reading list of "How to judge military performance or what is the military about generally" texts in case I ever decide to be less ignorant on the subject.

Re State running Iraq post-war, I think that's flat wrong. See this New Yorker article for example.

MattK - perhaps I should have said, "the often tense t&c atmosphere at T, where emotional code words are used in place of banned ones."

Point taken. :)

rilkefan,

I should have been more precise. DoD has the authority and responsibility to execute the plan selected. The CPA is headed by a State Deprtment official - Amb. Bremer who reports to Rumsfeld. The chain of command flows from Sanchez to Bremer to Rumsfeld. Part of the muddle that von refers to is the interjection of State (in the person of Bremer) into the plan execution process. The plan itself belongs primarily to the DoD.

The New Yorker article was fairly good. Another view can be found here.

RDB, didn't get past the first sentence in your link, but will read it tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, more about my concern above, from
the latest NYTimes
:

In many ways the war plan drove the postwar plan, senior military officials said. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the invasion force be kept as small as possible, prompting his commanders to build an attack plan based on speed and surprise. Any recommendations for sending more troops to maintain order afterward would probably have collided with the war plan, the officials said.

rilkefan,

I'm not sure that reading any of cite (or site) that I suggest would clarify the situation to the point where you would find it dispositive. Military science is science in the the same way that the social sciences are. Going into Iraq "light" and remaining "light" are a function of necessity. In hindsight, the reduction in force from 12 divisions to 10 divisions in the 90's appears to have been misguided (this was a joint policy decision with input from both sides). That said, to bring the Army back to 12 divisions (fully trained and equipped) was impossible within the timetable for invasion. There is an ongoing battle among planners concerning the necessity to reactivate additional divisions.

If you push aside preconceptions and focus on resource availability and time necessary to train, Rumsfeld's decisions are more understandable. I'd look for a one division increment in a supplemental next January - as well as another brigade or two of Special Forces.

The NYT article does not mention how we were to deploy resources that don't exist.

Scattered thoughts:

One might argue about the timing of the timetable...

How long does it take to recruit, train, equip, and transport a division? I heard the bad job market was helping recruitment (perhaps balanced by poor retention, esp. in the National Guard).

I thought we had a "two-front" doctrine.

I really don't understand what I've heard about the internal Pentagon debates pre-war if what you say is right. I was under the impression that we could have assembled a larger force, though not by March - and there was some concern about invading during the summer wearing anti-WMD suits. In fact I thought we had a larger force but didn't manage to get them out of Turkey. And that the reason we're about to run out of available boots on the ground was that it was decided to have limited tours of duty.

Re name mangling, it's "rilkefan", von.

Sorry -- it was a typo.

Von, I totally don't care - for one thing it's not actually my name - it's just that you've mispelled it about three different ways over the course of time. My gf says over my shoulder, why are you writing an irate message? So, the obligatory peace be upon you.

I thought we had a "two-front" doctrine.

Nope. One of the many 'reinventing government' initiatives put that little notion to the wayside.

So, the obligatory peace be upon you.

And also upon you.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad