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June 26, 2005

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"And the Rhino could not get through the Army's testing regime because its manufacturer declined to have one of its $250,000 vehicles blown up."

Ahh.. bureaucracy. It's better to blow up lot's of vechiles on the field than have one blown up at home.

Still these vehicles at 1/4 mil a pop are prolly not direct replacements for Humvees.

So are you saying things -would- be better if kerry had won?

It seems clear that things would have been better if Bush & Co had not fixed their goal of invading Iraq (in 2002 or earlier) and then - instead of preparing and planning for the invasion and the occupation - had spent their time fixing the evidence to give them an excuse for invasion.

Deciding to go to war, especially an aggressive war of invasion/occupation, without proper preparation or planning, is hardly likely to produce good results. As we see in Iraq.

Things would have been better if Gore hadn't been cheated out of the Presidency when he won the 2000 election. But there you go.

Entertaining, but the question was directed to Mr. Hilzoy.

"...our troops still don't have the armored vehicles they need to protect themselves from being blown to bits...."

This is not the best phrasing, because no vehicle prevents that. Nor are which vehicles are in supply a basic point, alas.

While folks atracted to tech, such as thee and me, note these things, they're still not going to turn things around, one way or another.

My other suspicion is to go look for the most recent press release on the Rhino.

Although more fun might be found via Mr. Hilzoy. Who knows?

awesome post Hilzoy...

Entertaining, but the question was directed to Mr. Hilzoy.

Mildly amusing, but you might care to click the "About" button.

When she is not thinking deep thoughts, she likes to play guitar, read novels, listen to music, and wander around looking for birds.

Antifer, the question is not whether things would be better if Kerry had won. (Well, it's a question, but a counterfactual one, and not relevant to the discussion at hand. And it's certainly not a counterfactual I saw hilzoy propose.) The relevant questions are:

1. Why, two years into this conflict, rather than do what has to be done to provide sufficient numbers of troops and sufficient protection for them, is the guy who did win and his party concentrating all the time on providing tax cuts, private Social Security accounts, flag-burning amendments, puppies, ice cream, shafting the VA, and tax cuts?

2. Why do they keep getting away with it?

By the way, hilzoy is a Ms., not a Mr.

Thanks, Hilzoy.

You are spotlighting our weaknesses on the defense side. It's worth remembering why the insurgents have such a powerful offense, too.

Bush and Rumsfeld gave them the IEDs, that's why.

For all of those months when they kept repeating that no more troops were needed, they were leaving the ammo dumps unguarded. Explosives, artillery shells, rockets, nearly everything that is killing US soldiers now got into insurgent hands because Bush and Rumsfeld did not guard the ammo dumps.

Got that? They left American soldiers unprotected twice: by not giving them the armor they need, and by giving the insurgents all of the explosives they need.

These people never prepared for war at all. They prepared for a publicity stunt, and for a photo-op on an aircraft carrier. What incompetents.

Antifer raises a legitimate question, though. What difference could Kerry have made? Well, he wouldn't be constrained to constantly claim that no errors were made prior to his arrival, and so could have shifted some resources around faster. Instead of proving that "the course" was worth staying, Kerry would have had to prove that he is not a wimp, and so an uptick in aggressive response would have been likely. Even if more than we've seen, many conservatives would be complaining that it's not enough, that he can't possibly win, and that we'd be better off if he just slunk away like the wimpy loser that he is, rather than continuing to pour good money/men after bad trying to do what only GWB had the vision and leadership to pull off.

What we don't know is how the enemy would have reacted. Actually, probably not much different.

"Bush: Still Better Than Kerry Would've Been, Maybe"

As with torture, for Bush supporters, as long as there's someone you can say is worse than Bush, no criticism is possible.

Antifer: since the post is about preparing for war, the question, I think, is not whether things would have been better had Kerry won in 2004, but whether things would have been better had Gore become President in 2000. I have absolutely no doubt that they would. We would have invaded Afghanistan; we would not have invaded Iraq.

Had Kerry been elected in 2004, I also think things would have been better. Whatever else you might want to say about Kerry, he cares a lot about the men and women in our armed forces, in part because of having been one, and I think he would not have tolerated this situation.

Thanks for asking, though. (And I am female.)

Is there an armored vehicle that can protect to the extent you and the NYT desire? We don't make buildings that good. There's a wealth of information out there that debates this issue fairly. Far be it for the NYT and their enablers to sully the intent of their article to include any of it. By the way, a Humvee is the pronunciation of HMMWV which stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. You hang 3,000 pounds of metal on it and it's no longer a Humvee. Dozens of troops have died just driving these PC rigged behemoths. I can only hope dozens more have been saved with the rigged armor. The Stryker is probably more suited for this kind of combat. Knock yourself out visiting memory lane to reveal the controversy developing this military vehicle. I don't know, Hilzoy, I love reading your thoughtful, well constructed arguments about those issues you have a grasp of. But there's an AHAH! cheap shot side of you that only Edward can love. Are the conservatives in charge of the military's procurement system? Sure, as much as a mere political party can be 'in charge' of a bureaucracy molded the American way over generations of appointments and civil service. Are we ready for Rosie the Riveter? Not again in a million years. Blog on.

Blogbudsman: we haven't gotten the best we could get for our troops. It has been over two years since we got into the war, and nearly four since, according to Rove, conservatives started preparing. If you read the article, you'll see that a lot of the reason we are still sending our kids out to be blown up in inadequately armored vehicles is because of bureaucratic snafus that are easy to get around. Why, for instance, is it a problem that the makers of the Rhino don't want to blow up one of their vehicles in testing? Couldn't we just buy one (Halliburton managed to) and do that part of the testing ourselves? This is something that a decent manager, who was willing to shake things up a bit, could have dealt with easily. It is certainly something that Rumsfeld or Bush could have ordered in a heartbeat. Why didn't they?

Blogbudsman--

"Are the conservatives in charge of the military's procurement system?"

Well, I don' t know if that question has an answer, but I certainly know that the Republican party has been in charge of the WH for the last five years, and in control of all of Congress for most of that (and even before they had numerical majorities in both they had a pathetically compliant group of Democrats).

So--are you claiming that if the Republicans wanted to pass legislation expediting procurement of war materiel on the Liberty-Ships model, that they couldn't pass it? That's completely implausible. They can pass anything that Bush wants to sign (of course they have not passed anything he did not want to sign).

If this administration had *ever* been serious about fighting this war to win it--instead of just enjoying a brief stint of photo-ops and then lacking any clue about what to do next--if this administration had *ever* taken seriously their obligation to the troops, to the American people, and to the Iraqi people, to make sure that we win this war, then they could have had adequate armor rolling down the assembly lines years ago.

Remember--we have had as long since 9/11 as there was between Pearl Harbor and VJ day. Long enough to develop B-29s, Mustangs, and the atomic bomb, back when we had real leadership in the White House.

But this gang has no leadership, no vision, no ideas, and no interest in uniting the American people.

So they are losing the war, all by themselves, and the only efforts they are working on are schemes for pinning the blame on their domestic opponents.

How responsible conservatives or Republicans can continue to enable this bunch of incompetents is beyond me.

And Tad -- I forgot to say that of course you're right about the explosives the insurgents are using to blow us up. If we had actually prepared for war, and/or if Rumsfeld had been willing to listen to the military about troop levels, the insurgents would have had a lot less high explosives to use against our troops.

Is there an armored vehicle that can protect to the extent you and the NYT desire?

Probably not, but your question artfully dodges the real point being made viz. that the US forces in Iraq are not capable of being an effective or sufficient occupying force in themselves, they are there to leverage a domestic solution to a problem they themselves create by their very presence. This catch-22 was entirely predictable and indeed predicted, as the collective Downing Street Memo's illustrate, leaving this administration nakedly culpable of serious negligence in foresight and planning regarding the removal of Hussein. Which has led directly to the needless exposure of the US military and the nations strategic imperatives to the current dangers in Mess'opotamia.

Postit: it also ducks the question, have we protected the troops as much as we can? Or even: anything close to that? The answers are: no and no. Soldiers are dead as a result.

Is there an armored vehicle that can protect to the extent you and the NYT desire?

The article mentions two, the Rhino and the M1117. While it is possible that there is no vehicle that can protect the troops to the extent that I would want them to be, I would like them to be a bit more protected before I said "And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored humvee and it can be blown up."

There's a wealth of information out there that debates this issue fairly. Far be it for the NYT and their enablers to sully the intent of their article to include any of it.

At this point, a cite would be nice, unless you don't want to sully the intent of your comment.

Are the conservatives in charge of the military's procurement system? Sure, as much as a mere political party can be 'in charge' of a bureaucracy molded the American way over generations of appointments and civil service. Are we ready for Rosie the Riveter?

This would be an interesting discussion, but you don't seem to be prepared to have it, just to accuse Hilzoy and the NYT (plus the cheap shot at Edward, for those keeping score at home) of reviving these arguments because they are presumably Karl Rove's definition of liberals.

It seems to me, from my jaundiced perch, that if Rumsfeld could use the conflict to leverage his vision of the US armed forces (which is why Shinseki was shown the door), he could have also leveraged it to deal with these kinds of problems. You, however, feel that controlling both houses and the presidency is not really enough for dealing with a generationally modified bureaucracy. Your defeatism is noted, though I hope it is just an outgrowth of some temporary depression rather than a hypocritical goalpost moving operation that seeks to blame people other than those responsible. Though I can certainly understand why you might want to persuade yourself that there will be a terrorist attack, and that there is nothing we can do to deal with the insurgency.

Unlike the attack on Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a war of choice. It was 'planned' (to the extent that any planning was done) from January 2002 onwards. At no point were the true objectives or costs made public -- not before the UN resolution, or the Congressional resolution authorizing force, or the official start of the ground invasion in March 2003, or since.

Why is that? Because honesty about the goals and costs would have killed public support for the war before it began, as it will now. Therefore Bush will not be any more honest about the goals or costs than he has up until now.

The Administration's lack of preparedness should be seen in concert with some other outrageous aspects of this war: the Administration's equal unwillingness to fund soldiers' and veterans' benefits, the DSM memo confirmation that the war timeline was planned to coincide with US elections, and the RW chickenhawks' unwillingness to enlist (even as they vilify any who oppose the war).

The war isn't about making America safe, or protecting our freedom. It never was.

It was always, and only, about political power - power for the owners, in Bush's notion of an "Ownership Society."

There's something almost medieval about it. In feudal times, if you weren't already born to the elite class, your only hope of advancement was in the army, or in the Church.

Bush's enomonic policies eat away at the middle class. His Medicare policy and SocSec "phase-out" are aimed at destroying those programs. His education policies undermine education, by funding it badly, and by encouraging fundamentalist efforts to theologize the curriculum. He wants to impose Biblical laws on our private lives and replace secular social services with tax-supported religious outreach.

This all adds up to a powerful, continuous assault on the American dream of upward mobility, the American ideal of personal autonomy, and the Consitutional requirement of separation of Church and State.

Bush's Iraq policy should be seen in that context.

Hilzoy: Agreed, but I don't want to get distracted by the lack of equipment argument because that tends to reinforce the concept of prioritizing 'Force Protection' which I believe has tended to reduce the effectiveness of US forces in Iraq. You can't protect ordinary Iraqis from the insurgency by pointing guns on them from inside a tank, indeed you can't 'interact' with ordinary Iraqi's very well at all other than yourself contributing significantly to the dangers they face.

At root this is a policy problem and all consequences flow from that, from the policy to remove Hussein without sufficient justification, on a timetable that didn't allow for the full participation and commitment of our natural allies and without sufficient consideration of how Iraq was to be governed post removal.

Yes Bush, Rumsfeld et al are culpable of negligence in the area of providing body armor and armored vehicles but that is relatively small beer compared to the larger strategic negligence of placing our troops and the nations strategic imperatives at risk in Iraq in the 1st place.

Your defeatism is noted, though I hope it is just an outgrowth of some temporary depression rather than a hypocritical goalpost moving operation that seeks to blame people other than those responsible.

That was uncalled-for, LJ.

Is there an armored vehicle that can protect to the extent you and the NYT desire?

What on earth motivates such questions? Mandatory reading aloud of the Book of Hinderaker should be assigned.

Go back and read the article. What vehicle did Donald @#*!!*# Rumsfeld feel safe in? Okay, that's the one our boys & girls in uniform should be tooling around in. No more discussion required. Thanks for playing. Vanna will help you off the stage.

"And the Rhino could not get through the Army's testing regime because its manufacturer declined to have one of its $250,000 vehicles blown up."

Gentleman, and Ms. Hilzoy, stop that fighting at once, don't you know this is the War Room!

"Are the conservatives in charge of the military's procurement system?"

That's actually a very interesting question which refers back to an earlier thread discussion yesterday about the frustrations of the rank and file Federal employee.

But since I was left out of the exclusive "ahha, cheap shot" club of Hilzoy and Edward, let me first point out that if you examined the voting records and campaign contributions of the long list of military contractors I suspect you would conclude, overwhelmingly, that the military procurement system is indeed run by conservatives. Except, of course, for the liberal manufacturers of the granola our troops eat for breakfast and the cat-o'-nine-tails sold at the PX attached to Abu Ghraib.

I doubt very much that Randy Cunningham sold his house at twice its value to Abbie Hoffman.

Without going into detail, though, the dreaded faceless bureaucracy (notice that this was also made into a dirty
word mostly of the efforts of, let's see, whom?) actually is constrained in ten thousand ways by the people of the United States through their representatives (the majority changes, but not lately) who demand that every penny of their hard-earned (who thought up that adjective for every demagogic speech regarding taxes?) tax dollars have a zillion hurdles they must jump through before leaving the building. Sometimes for good reason, given those expensive toilet seats, but the nature of a bureaucracy in a democracy is that the dreaded God-awful biased MSM (and now the self-appointed and utterly unbiased msm on the Internet) gets hold of a mistake or two and the next thing you know we've got hearings and another packet of rules to follow.

I see two solutions. Follow the Soviet Union's lead and nationalize the defence industry. No more competitive bidding with all that wining and dining of the procurement folks. Employ slave labor (this might be one area, should the patriotic angle be ginned up, where conservatives might find slavery a plus) to make things cheaper. Hey, it worked, if the amount of money we've spent over the past 65 years to counter the Soviets is any indication. Weren't they scary as hell.....

or ... completely privatize the Armed Forces. There would be two sets of private Armies. The conservative one would have free rein (given the deep pockets) to traipse around the world kicking ass, spilling testoterone at will. We'll call it Halliburton.

The liberal, but private one, could deploy here at home, knocking heads together to collect the taxes to pay for the conservative Army and accommodations for Randy Cunningham (who, I guess, likes the Navy) and let's not forget all of those amputatee's needs. We'll call it ... The Internal Revenue Service.

Blogbudsman--

"Are the conservatives in charge of the military's procurement system?"

The short and simple answer to this is that if conservatives are going to make comments like the one used as a title for this post, then they had betterbe willing to back it up by having something to show for all their preparation. I assume that this is the sort of thing he was directly referencing when he said that conservatives prepared for war in the face of 9/11.

If instead Rove meant that conservatives started swinging wildly without doing anything to ensure that we had the resources ready and waiting, then I suggest that his understanding of preparation could use some tweaking.

"amputatee's". I say that. You say "amputees".

John -- like I said, I would have been content with the Secretary of Defense riding herd on the procurement process, or at least devoting as much attention to it as he did to ensuring that the people from State who had been thinking about postwar Iraq for over a year were prevented from attending his postwar planning meetings.

Socratic me: exactly.

It's not hard to criticize the planning and conduct of the war in Iraq, and others have detailed some examples above. To name just a few points:

  • inadequate troop strength to eliminate the insurgency early,
  • allowing weapons dumps to be looted,
  • discarding Thomas Warrick's Future of Iraq planning,
  • political fumbling in the creation of the Iraqi government,
  • incompetence and corruption in the reconstruction process.

To me, this is all symptomatic of George W. Bush's failure as a political leader. On September 11, 2001, he was given a golden opportunity to unite the country -- in fact, the country was united and all he had to do was not blow it.

Instead, as Karl Rove's statement demonstrates, he chose divide and rule. Like so many of the choices in Iraq, it smacks of doing "just enough to get by."

This is the leadership style of a wastrel born to wealth. We cannot expect any change for the better.

Oh, so we're to believe that, because the Rhino folks weren't cooperative, the Pentagon had to slink away in disappointment, having no other options (competitors, public pressure, etc.). Because of course, when the Pentagon wants something, it may or may not get it. Free country and all that.

Sigh. Just "sigh."

And obviously, in a budget that provided over $400billion last year, it's just too much to ask that someone manage to locate a spare 250,000 to buy a Rhino for testing.

Hilzoy: Yes, you are spot on. But tangential points are my weakest strength. ;)

And, by the way, I really hope to live long enough to read the historians' accounts of why postwar planning was so assidously ignored and prevented.

There is something monstrous there, beyond fear that State Dept. employees might be less than American. It'll be good. Graves will need to be opened and bodies exhumed.

And obviously, in a budget that provided over $400billion last year, it's just too much to ask that someone manage to locate a spare 250,000 to buy a Rhino for testing.

Part of the problem in the political sphere, though, is that most people simply don't have a good conception of orders of magnitude (or have decent numeracy in general). 400 billion as versus 250,000... I'll wager that if you grabbed the average person off the street and asked them to graphically illustrate the ratio of the two using lines, pie charts or what have you, none of them would give the correct response, which is: "The paper's too small and the pencil's too big to produce the correct 1,600,000:1 ratio".

To put it in some kind of perspective, not finding room for $250,000 in a $400 billion budget is akin to going to Philadelphia (pop 1.5 million according to Infoplease) and not finding a single person there who's willing to help you. It's ludicrous. But because we simply don't have the numeracy or even the crude familiarity with large numbers, we rarely hold our representatives responsible for this kind of BS.

[As an aside, I got really good at explaining this -- like, with pictures and stuff -- last year during our union strike and for similar reasons: the state was/is trying to stiff us on $300,000 in a budget of $1.5 billion. It meant nothing to them, except for "the principle of the thing", but it made, and makes, a huge difference to us.]

hilzoy, you have rattled me. I am a regular lurker here, largely because I find that my addition to the refrain of "Right on, hilzoy!" is probably not needed. Thus, to be complimented in return is quite an honor. Thanks.

From what I've read of the State Dept planning work, I've come to the tentative conclusion that it was circular-filed for the same reason that Garner only had a one-month run: they had the Iraqis getting control of monies for rebuilding immediately. This didn't fly for the obvious reasons.

ral--
"To me, this is all symptomatic of George W. Bush's failure as a political leader. "

Agreed.

But there's a larger point about why the current crop of Republican leadership is failing at nation-building.

It's because nations are not made from private enterprise alone. They require extensive governmental support to create infra-structure, rules, laws, and guard-rails of all sorts.

But this crowd doesn't get that, and refuses to get it. They are still in love with the Reaganesque myth that government is always the problem, never the solution.

Why did Rumsfeld breezily ignore anarchy by saying "freedom is messy"? Because he thought it would all take care of itself, by magic. No government needed, just the invisible hands of free enterprise, just happy individuals liberated from the tyranny of government. (Oh, with a little help from Halliburton).

It is worth remembering that the people who brought us the Marshall Plan--the people who recreated Europe and Japan after *far* more destruction than Iraq suffered--were also the people who had previously brought us the New Deal.

They had already learned how to build a nation, here at home, and they valued and respected the importance of government instituions in creating the conditions for free-market economies to flourish.

But the Bush gang--and too many in the Republican leadership--are nation-destroyers, not nation-builders. They want to destroy government everywhere they see it--at home and abroad.

They must be stopped before they destroy more. And we must keep them from destroying our country, even as we discharge our debt to the Iraqi people--a debt they incurred against the better judgement of many of us--to help them rebuild their government.

I should also say that there is an element of Attention Deficit Deficiency in the Bush attitude, as well.

These Bushies--they *love* to campaign, but when it comes time to govern they get bored real quick.

They actually have, as far as I can tell, no interest in governing, i.e acting in the national interest, at all.

The plan goes the same, whether at home or overseas:

Destroy anything in your path while you are campaigning. Demonize your opponents, lie, and make stuff up to advance your campaign. Once you have won control of the country, turn it over to the big corporations in exchange for money, and give control of the schools to the radical religious extremists. Secular institutions are always suspect and should be destroyed if possible. Big corporations should be coddled by all means possible. If chaos ensues, standards of living and life expectancies plummet, well, that's not your problem. Freedom is messy--just cut taxes more. Signs that it's not working? Deny the science, deny the facts, and keep up the lies.

As for hands-on dealing with the issues that affect the nation's welfare? E.g. jobs, health-care, balancing the budget, protecting the environment, restoring infra-structure? Boring, unglamorous, and ideologically suspect. Time for vacation in Crawford.

What's rotten about the Rove/Bush/DeLay gang's foreign policy is exactly the same as what's rotten about their domestic policy.

Except, of course, for the liberal manufacturers of the granola our troops eat for breakfast and the cat-o'-nine-tails sold at the PX attached to Abu Ghraib.

Hahahaha. Classic.

Well, I see Tad Brennan has found the open grave and is planning to exhume the corpse once the Republican Party buries the drowned baby (government; too bad we can't call it a foetus and get Republicans on its side) and begin the autopsy.

It's really too bad a world ending financial run on the U.S. Treasury didn't ensue when the child demagogue Bush peered into that file cabinet at the Bureau of Public Debt. I guess no one takes him seriously.


The one clear way in which a Kerry administration would have been better is that it would have cleared out the lotus-eating fantasists in the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the Condi NSC, and the Cheney OVP.

Tim: From what I've read of the State Dept planning work, I've come to the tentative conclusion that it was circular-filed for the same reason that Garner only had a one-month run: they had the Iraqis getting control of monies for rebuilding immediately. This didn't fly for the obvious reasons.

Reinforcing this assessment are the experiences of Larry Diamond, who went to Iraq during the CPA period to advise on constitution-drafting. His book Squandered Victory goes into detail about the unwillingness to allow Iraqi control of any resources or projects.

I heard Larry Diamond speak at Stanford's Aurora Forum on Nov. 4, 2004, a program that was hosted by Amy Goodman (transcript, audio & video here).

He wrote an article in Foreign Affairs, "What Went Wrong in Iraq."

they had the Iraqis getting control of monies for rebuilding immediately. This didn't fly for the obvious reasons.

Oh, great, another corrupt element I'd failed to even consider in the whole mess. Cherchez l'argent. I'm just too sweet and naive for this stuff, I guess.

Morning all,
Anarch calls me out for snark going over the line. While I did want to point out the goalpost moving, it was wrong of me to adduce anyone's mental state on the basis of their comments. My apologies to bbm for doing that.

whether things would have been better had Gore become President in 2000. I have absolutely no doubt that they would.

Thats great, though rather short sighted and full of large assumptions. But, I assume you realize that. It would be fruitless to try to argue the point until someone invents a Crystal Ball(tm).

Your second point of it being better if Kerry had won because of his care for the men and women, it certainly easily argued, but again is just based on rather large assumptions.

So, your stated pointed of the post is one thats unprovable, unarguable, and includes the odd article from the Times thats unrelated to your point. Seems rather pointless, Ma'am.

Antifer: you may or may not agree with the assumptions, though for the record I don't think they're that big, especially the part about Gore. But the point is: Bush was President, and he pretty clearly did not prepare. Moreover, he didn't take action once the problems became clear. And as a result people are dead who would not have been otherwise.

So, your stated pointed of the post is one thats unprovable, unarguable, and includes the odd article from the Times thats unrelated to your point. Seems rather pointless, Ma'am.

Given that she was responding to a specific question that you asked, this is interesting. In fact, she didn't make any reference to alternate futures. For you to claim that this was the point she was making based on the fact that she was polite enough to respond to a question you specifically directed at her is a neat rhetorical trick, but rather meaningless when examined closely.

There is a related issue which needs more public discussion; health care for injured vets. My Senator Patty Murray has been making an issue of the lack of funding for medical treatment for vets. The current budget, if I am understanding things correctly, calls for severe cuts, so severe that nursing staff will have to be reduced, and reductions in the funding for rehabilitative services. The number of injured vets is huge. People are coming home minus limbs, with burns, and with muscle injuries that will take moths to treat. Sen. Murray was talking about this on CNN last night.
The lack of genuine support for the troops by the Republican-controlled Congress is particularly irksome given the billions of tax dollars that have disappeared either into Halliburton's byzantine accounting system or the black hole of aid to the Iraqi government.

Antifer: So, your stated pointed of the post is one thats unprovable

Hardly. The stated point of the post is that the current government of the US, contrary to Karl Rove's frantic boasts and foolish words (sample used as title of the post) did not prepare for war.

And that's quite, quite, unfortunately provable.

You may wish to believe it "unarguable", too, and you may be right, since thus far you don't seem to have been able to argue it.

The Bush Admin has turned on Chuck Hagel.

Dick Cheney, in an interview with CNN:

"Since 9/11, we've had people like Chuck Hagel and other politicians and we've had people in the press corps and commentators who've said we can't do Afghanistan."

Chuck Hagel, after the war in Afghanistan began:

"I think the objectives that the President laid out a few days ago are being completed and fulfilled. You noted the briefing that the House and Senate had today. Part of those briefings consisted of the results and the status of where we are. So based on what I know, I think at least this initial phase of our military action has been successful, 100 per cent. I don't know if anything is ever 100 per cent in this business, but certainly they've done very well."

So. Let's see. According to the Vice President of the United States, and according to the President's top advisor: Democrats and liberals are traitors; moderate Republicans are irrelevant; and we're winning in Iraq. Oh, and Chuck Hagel said we "couldn't do" Afghanistan.

OK, the question really has to be asked: What planet do these people live on?

And the follow-up question has to be: How much more damage are they going to do to this one before we're rid of them?

Something worries me - we haven't seen any posts from certain posters. You know, the ones who got worked up over AI and Senator Durbin. If they really care about the troops, then this information should have outraged them.

Should we send ambulances to their residences, to see if they've suffered strokes or something like that?

Barry, I think it fruitless to speculate about why some blog posts are of interest to some regulars and some are not. (Besides the vagaries of time, enthusiasm, and personality, there is the fact that some people have lives off the Internet. Reportedly, some people even spend this time of year soaking up rays from a large fiery object in the sky. Or playing bridge. YMMV.)

It is possible that all they have to say is "Great post, Hilzoy, I agree completely" and see no reason to feed Hilzoy's already massive ego* by posting to say so.

*This is irony. Everyone knows Hilzoy is shy, modest, retiring, soft-spoken, and besides... she's dangerous.

lj, I'm not particularly sensitive, and these issues inspire great passion. And I'm a bit snarky myself. To maintain some decorum here, Anarch makes a good case. For me personally, no offense taken. And who knows, you might be right.

Jesurgislac, it was a barb; I'm pointing out that some people can write very long posts expressing outrage over the supposed harm done to our troops by AI and Rogue Senators, but when *actual harm* is pointed out, well, ...

Barry: Jesurgislac, it was a barb

Yes. I just don't think it's a very effective one. ;-)

Well, anybody who reads OW regularly will agree that I'm not up to The Poor Man, or the other greats.

What I'd like to keep in peoples' minds is that some people show (how should I say it?) a great deal of concern for the troops when that 'concern' is most useful to propping up Bush. After that exhaustion overtakes them.

Well... um. I'm charitiably assuming, at the moment, that Charles Bird is having an off day (or a busy day at work) and just doesn't have time for a full-length posts ranting against Karl Rove: and likewise Von. And the other regular commenters who joined in the gulag wars, &c.

They're probably all at a barbeque. Maybe the same barbeque. ;-)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Lemon Chicken :)

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