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November 28, 2005

Comments

You know, I wish they would teach colonels in the Marines like Murtha the difference between strategy and tactics. Maybe you could apply to teach at Quantico. You could even make webpages with links to help them out.

Perhaps, but only someone being dishonest pretends to not know that we have had a strategy from the very beginning of that war and we have consistently tried to implement it using various tactics and adapting as we go.

creek,
Since you apparently know the strategy, maybe you'd like to let us in on the secret.

For example, can you tell me when the bulk of the US troops will be coming home? Not some useless platitude like "when the job is done"- something more like "when the bulk of the new Iraqi army can operate independently of US support" or "when sectarian violence is reduced to a background and all three sides appear willing to sort of their differences politically".

Of course, you'll need to not just pick from those options (or any other you'd care to suggest)- you'll need to demonstrate that the administration has clearly articulated this strategy.

Good luck with that.

Wu

I'd second Wu's call. Rather than accusing people of dishonesty, how about laying out what you think the strategy is? Remember that even if you do that, the strategy may be problematic, as the Israelis are coming to realize

For example, can you tell me when the bulk of the US troops will be coming home?

Nope, can't answer that. That's part of the loser strategy. Not Bush's strategy. Interesting how your first issue deals bringing the troops home? Is that all that interests you? Is having a timeline for pull out the crux of a good strategy to you?

If you are so concerned about the troops maybe we should look at what they think is best strategy in Iraq.

If I knew the exact plan disclosing it would be aiding the enemy. That's what makes all the fuss about Bush not revealing all the military details of a plan so interesting. Revealing everything would only help the enemy. Why do so many want Bush to deliver the plan to the enemy? One can only wonder.

While I know that many here don't have a problem with that I personally do.

If you can't listen to Bush and discern the strategy there is nothing I can do to help you. I've personally understood the strategy in Iraq since the beginning of the invasion. It's really not that complex. Implementing it on an unpredicatable enemy is always the challenge. We must remain flexible and learn to adapt the plan as we go.

Every good business does this. And we are also doing this in Iraq. BDS has just blinded many to that fact.

Maybe this link will help you.

http://www.secondbreakfast.net

Since you apparently know the strategy, maybe you'd like to let us in on the secret.

The Strategy

For example, can you tell me when the bulk of the US troops will be coming home?

No timetable, strategy does not necessarily state a timetable, but I'd guess not before 3 years or so.

Other observations here and here.

"That's part of the loser strategy."

We should rename it "The Loser-Defeatist Powell Doctrine," I guess.

"If I knew the exact plan disclosing it would be aiding the enemy."

Talk about confusing tactics and strategy! (Or faintly more clearly: tactical planning and strategic planning.)

"Why do so many want Bush to deliver the plan to the enemy? One can only wonder."

It's because we hate America. Haven't you heard?

But

If I knew the exact plan disclosing it would be aiding the enemy.

This is presumably why Murtha is in the dark about it as well.

DaveC,
Bush's strategy paper wasn't one. It contained many platitudes, but virtually no specifics. I do agree that a timetable isn't a necessary part of a good strategy in Iraq (although it might be very useful), but I also think that a real strategy would have to address things like Kurdish separatism, the dangers of an Iranian-dominated theocracy, and the risks of all-out civil war. Address by discussing the nature of those problems and how we're going to defuse them, not address by saying 'we will succeed because we have the will, and will accept nothing less than success'. The will to succeed is important, but so is a plan.

creek,
CW:For example, can you tell me when the bulk of the US troops will be coming home?

Nope, can't answer that. That's part of the loser strategy. Not Bush's strategy.

Uh, you may be backpedaling sooner than you think. Condoleezza Rice on CNN (11/22)- "I suspect that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they are now that much longer.
Personally, I think we either leave immediately (as tactical considerations dictate) or stay for several years. Im not sure that the American people have the stomach to stay for several more years- but Im pretty sure that they won't if no one ever tells them what they're accomplishing and what they need to accomplish in order to be successful- so that all they hear are casualty reports and sloganeering ("failure is not an option" kind of crap).

creek again
Interesting how your first issue deals bringing the troops home? Is that all that interests you? Is having a timeline for pull out the crux of a good strategy to you?

Not at all, but thanks for the ungenerous and inaccurate assumption. It is 1)something that the American people are very interested in and 2)a good example of something that isn't being addressed.
Having specific criteria for success, that I consider essential for a good strategy. Not sufficient, but certainly necessary.

If I knew the exact plan disclosing it would be aiding the enemy. That's what makes all the fuss about Bush not revealing all the military details of a plan so interesting. Revealing everything would only help the enemy. Why do so many want Bush to deliver the plan to the enemy? One can only wonder.

Ok, first we're all liars for saying that we don't know the strategy (so it must be everywhere, right?), and now the strategy is so secret that it cannot be revealed. You've managed to grok it with no difficultly based on Bush's speeches, but explaining it to us would mean revealing it to the terrorists.
Uh huh. Tell you what, come back when you've made up your mind. Or, at a minimum, you can argue without tripping over your own friggin feet.

DaveC,
I checked out the links you pointed to. I disagree with the author- who admits his lack of knowledge about military matters.
Im no expert either, but I do know that von Moltke was preaching to Prussian army officers who lived and died by Planning. Every. Detail. His emphasis to them was on the necessity to improvise within the plan, or even to change the plan if necessary- because that was a potential weakness in their mindset.
From his history and the nature of the German army of that period, one cannot extrapolate into "don't have a plan, it's just gonna fall apart when we meet the enemy anyway" or "the plan is unimportant once contact with the enemy has been made." Moltke was talking about *changing* plans, not trying to run a war without them.

Are you arguing in support of that kind of idea? That, since the plan didn't survive our initial expectations of Iraq, we don't need a plan anymore?
(Im not trying to attribute that viewpoint to you, just trying to understand why you offered that link when asked what the plan was).

His second-to-last para is correct, I think- in order to win you need the will to win and the support of the people. Keeping a stiff upper lip is a good thing, etc.
But those aren't plans, and they aren't subsitutes for plans.

Gary,

Why do so many want Bush to deliver the plan to the enemy? One can only wonder.

It's because we hate America. Haven't you heard?

Well, I have been reading this site and that did occur to me at the time. I think it is more that their hatred of Bush has blinded many. But from reading here it does seem that many hate America also.


Carl,

I guess this was too complex for you to understand.

If you can't listen to Bush and discern the strategy there is nothing I can do to help you. I've personally understood the strategy in Iraq since the beginning of the invasion. It's really not that complex. Implementing it on an unpredicatable enemy is always the challenge. We must remain flexible and learn to adapt the plan as we go.

Maybe you missed where I stated implementation was the difficult part and the part that we shouldn't share in detail with the enemy.

Uh, you may be backpedaling sooner than you think. Condoleezza Rice on CNN (11/22)- "I suspect that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they are now that much longer.

There will be no backpedaling. We have known from the very beginning that troops will come home as soon as they are not needed. But to set some exact number is foolish because the situation is fluid.

Ok, first we're all liars for saying that we don't know the strategy (so it must be everywhere, right?), and now the strategy is so secret that it cannot be revealed. You've managed to grok it with no difficultly based on Bush's speeches, but explaining it to us would mean revealing it to the terrorists.

Obviously it is late and you are tired. Or else you would have understood this comment.

That's what makes all the fuss about Bush not revealing all the military details of a plan so interesting.

It's not me that is confusing an overall strategy and the military details for implementing said strategy.

It's really not that complex for most.

It's really not that complex for most.

Is 39% most? Bear in mind that this is from 21 June. I'm sure that everyone has got on board since then.

"That's part of the loser strategy."

We should rename it "The Loser-Defeatist Powell Doctrine," I guess.

And at risk of over-emphasizing the point, following said doctrine is probably why we lost the 1991 Gulf War.

There's plenty more one could say on this topic, and on what various counter-insurgent doctrines and strategies have been, and what historic "strategic plans" have been, and a wide variety of technical points, but, really, discussion at this sort of "If I knew the exact plan disclosing it would be aiding the enemy" level is just silly. Incredibly silly. A strategy isn't a lot of tactical plans added together. Even something as simplistically basic as "we will defeat the Germans as our top priority over defeating the Japanese" is not a Secret That Must Not Be Revealed.

But Carleton's comments on this have all been quite right. And I fear I do not have room in the margins of this comment to elaborate. (Yeah, okay, of course I do; I'm just being lazy and I have different Strategic Priorities, doncha know. [tonight they tend to involve watching DVDs, reading, and other such indulgences].)

"But from reading here it does seem that many hate America also."

Interesting deduction. Can you perhaps name three such people, and cite some evidence for this assertion?

Do please note that loving America and being critical of its flaws, and the flaws of its government, or the flaws of governmental actions, are not in the least incompatible, or uncommon, and none of the latter are evidence of "hatred of America."

Creek,
If your statement about not revealing the plan to the enemy was about specific tactics, then
1)it was a non sequitur, since we were talking about strategy. I didn't ask for tactical details. Pardon me for assuming that you were continuing to talk about what we had been talking about previously rather than going off on a completely unrelated tangent.
2)you didnt read the first parts of the thread before commenting, as this particular dodge has already been tried, unsuccessfully, by Charles. No one is asking for counterinsurgency tactics or patrol schedules.

Why introduce a non sequitur like that one? Becuase you'd claimed to know the plan- that any fool would know the plan- but then couldn't actually articulate the plan when called on it.
So you threw out some bullshit. You said that the plan was too secret for us to know.

I'm not east coast, it's not late, and you still haven't produced the plan that you said was so obvious. And you've conceeded that the strategic parts of the plan aren't super-mega-secret. So, spill the beans already, willya?

Gary,
per Charles earlier, even betraying American troops is in the finest traditions of American patriotism. Given that low of a bar, Id have to guess that proof of folks hating America would have to be pretty spectacular.
(Either that, or creek has concluded that Charles hates America bc he thinks that betraying our troops is A-Ok).

Carleton,
Obviously, I agree with you, but "b**ls**t" is violating the posting rules, I think (though it is pretty mild to me, given that Creek just called me dishonest and then suggests that the comment was misunderstood. Yet another person who can't own up to what they say, which, sadly, is not a posting rules violation)

My apologies. Thanks for the warning LJ, Ill try to keep my nose clean.

Just looking over the comments, it appears that both creek,DaveC and Charles agree that there is a clear plan.
But Dave thinks (well, guesses) that our goals will take 3 years, at least. Whereas creek's version of the plan is compatible with a relatively quick withdrawl. And we all know that Charles recently opined that we should leave in 6 months, mission accomplished.

Sounds like everyone has the plan they like in mind when they think of Bush's plan. Which, I suspect, is one of thge main benefits of Bush's failure to produce a concrete plan...

But Dave thinks (well, guesses) that our goals will take 3 years, at least.

Way, way more than 3 years. I'd say a generation at least. See, I really do think Iraq is a part of the GWOT.

creek: "But from reading here it does seem that many hate America also."

This is a serious insult. I'm with Gary: would you care to substantiate it?

This is a serious insult. I'm with Gary: would you care to substantiate it?

creek, hang in there. There are many many bad people on Obwi (John thullen, for instance:), and eventually everybody feels the wrath of Gary Farber, but it is a good place to check out where the pointy headed liberal professors are coming from. They don't hate America, they just hate hotdogs, apple pie, baseball ond both kinds of music (Country and Western).

John thullen, for instance:)

Smile when you say that, DaveC!

(missing a "-")

Are you arguing in support of that kind of idea? That, since the plan didn't survive our initial expectations of Iraq, we don't need a plan anymore?

(Im not trying to attribute that viewpoint to you, just trying to understand why you offered that link when asked what the plan was).

I think what she was saying is that the military strategy was focused on deposing Hussein. I think the that the State Dept, and intelligence agencies have failed much more than the military, even during the invasion. (Turkey not allowing troops to cross into Iraq from their borders as one example) Now, the military is continuing to be successful, and we are depending on Iraqis to make the right choices, rather than impose an imperialistic strong-man govt there, and everybody is complaining about that.

"and eventually everybody feels the wrath of Gary Farber,"

Well, revenge is a dish best served cold. I've heard tell.

Shame I've generally preferred gagh (properly served, of course) to it. I've just never gotten the whole grudge/revenge/vengeance thing down the way I'm told I'm supposed to. Not evah.

Not despite multiple lesons over decades. Shame, perhaps. Or not.

But I'm damn bad about smacking a lot of people with snark, sometimes vertent, and other times inadvertent, absolutely, m'lud.

Sometimes I'm a Klingon bastard, and sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I'm just a breath mint, or a floor wax. Sometimes i'm not.

"...but it is a good place to check out where the pointy headed liberal professors are coming from."

I've had only 3 months of college, myself, actually. Are you some kinda intellechul bastich who went further? (I did take a couple of "Publishing Graduate" courses at NYU in the Eighties, in an attempt to help my then-career, but they had considerably less intellectual depth than I'd hope a decent origami course would have; they were literaly more about paperfolding, or at that level, than not, and yet less useful.)

"They don't hate America, they just hate hotdogs, apple pie, baseball ond both kinds of music (Country and Western)."

But we loves us some Blues Brothers! Loves them! I do, anyway. And good hot-dogs. (Man, I read the other day that Gray's Papaya now charges more than $.50, not that you care, you America-hater; how often have you eaten at Nathan's at the actual Coney Island, you traitor-loser?) And the apple pie I ate the other week was, alas, likely the most sensuous experience I've had in a few months.

I wish I was kidding. But the truth will just have to do in an I-Love-America-More contest.

(Rest assured I take this as seriously as you do, DaveC, just as my hate for you is as undying as I suspect yours is for me, and, y'know what? My suspicions tend to work out okay.)

both kinds of music (Country and Western)

DaveC, if I ever meet you in person, I'll thump you upside the head with my Patsy Cline collection. ;^)

This is possibly a decent time to point out the obvious, which is that DaveC, for all his curious poses as a commenter, tends to have a generally under-appreciated skill at humor.

Cleverly hidden behind his ostensibly dumb and obvious humor, is often significantly less dumb and obvious humor!, often to the point of being actually -- how do you say? -- clever and not entirely obvious!

I've heard tell. Even through my often-felt, well-known, wrath.

What would be good for a wrathp in one's throat, anyhoo?

(Hmm: possibly should have gone with the sleeping, and the non-commenting; also should likely have knocked off with the meta-commentary-thinking; history says that I usually regret posting such.)

under-appreciated

Speak for yourself, man.

Had Gary not gotten here first, as he is wont to do, I would have said: I'm not sure I've ever seen the Wrath of Farber. The Annoyance of Farber, yes; the Bewilderment, faux and real, of Farber; the Snark of Farber; Farber's Provision of More Detail Than You Thought Possible -- all these, but never wrath.

Hmm.

I'm not sure I've ever seen the Wrath of Farber.

I'd pay good money to see that,
as long as Ricardo Montalban plays GF.

:-)

DaveC: They don't hate America, they just hate hotdogs, apple pie, baseball ond both kinds of music (Country and Western).

I'll cop to hating hotdogs, baseball, and most kinds of commercially-made apple pie (the apples are too sweet and the crust is too floppy): but hate Country and Western? Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson are my gods.

In January, Riders in the Sky have a 1 week gig with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

"I'll cop to hating hotdogs,"

Well, yes, the British version of "hotdogs" is likely as nauseating as the elder (contemporary?; I couldn't say] version of the "pizza" that one might find in Britain. Not to mention what they claim to be a "hamburger."

Is there anyone who has ever sampled both who doesn't hate British versions of "American food"? (And likely vice versa, I expect.)

Probably, but I also likely don't want to know.

Clue: what's often served in Britain as a "hot dog" or "hamburger" or "pizza" does not actually reflect view in mirror, or America, shameful country that we are.

When I visited Britain, the food was great. The only exceptions were the truly, deeply, horrific, things they presented as "American" foods. Wow, they were inedible. As is legendary, what was called "pizza" was, yes, horrific.

And nothing like I've ever tasted in, you know, America.

(As usual, this dynamic is rather universal, I suspect.)

DaveC,
Way, way more than 3 years. I'd say a generation at least. See, I really do think Iraq is a part of the GWOT.

This, I think, is the (meta)difference between your position and that of creek & Charles. You are willing to go on the record with policy recommendations- because your primary concern is how well we handle Iraq. And I suspect (or, at least, hope) that you would express dissatisfaction if Bush went in a different direction.
Fortunately, there are many conservatives (pardon me if that's not how you would describe yourself) who have such principled positions on the war. Unforunately, there are also quite a few who are unwilling to explicitly stake out a position prior to the administration doing so...

All this to get around to saying- you seem like a good guy, I hope we can have more disagreements in the future. :)

Is there anyone who has ever sampled both who doesn't hate British versions of "American food"? (And likely vice versa, I expect.)

I really loved the Deli sandwich I ate at MacDonald last month in London :)

Do I understand correctly that you consider Pizza to be American food???

I like TexMex in America, hate everything that uses what you call cheese, and usually order medium one-person portions to feed the family from :)

"Do I understand correctly that you consider Pizza to be American food???"

Sure. Opines differ as to whether it originates in New Haven or Chicago, although I'm more with the former. You don't have the silly notion it came from Italy, surely? (No, actually and really, claiming that the Italian version is the same as the American is just, well, wrong; possibly this is why Britain gets it wrong, and maybe others as well; it's like claiming that noodles are only right if they are Chinese/Italian.)

Italian pizza is fine, but it's not at all what is served in either Britain or America. (Not that there's a lack of variables in either country, of course.)

Don't get me started on bagels.

I had a Viet Namese neighbor in Seattle who invited me over for dinner. In an effort to please me he cooked what he thought was American food: Spam.

"I like TexMex in America,"

Incidentally, I, for one, have absolutely no idea what this means. Other than it might mean something yellow and something red on your food. Mostly my experience is that that's all it means. Mostly.

"hate everything that uses what you call cheese,"

Um, I call it fermented milk. I'll heartily agree that there tend to be far greater ranges of choices in British supermarkets than in average American supermarkets, and I can extrapolate from my sadly deeply limited experience that that means that European supermarkets have a far better range of cheeses -- which clearly means I want some -- but the above seems a tad blurry to me. I'm quite willing to believe that many things served, both in America and in Europe, as typical of "cheese" in America is awful. It seems to be an unfortunately variable term.

I'd far prefer a local Tescos to my (non-existent, due to local) local A&P or my local Safeway, but I'm not sure I'd trade it for the Whole Foods on Pearl Street. (Gee, and I just named the local choices the other day, here.)

There are plenty of variations of Italian pizza in America, to be sure (in big cities, that is), but that's pretty unrelated to Chicago or New Haven pizza. I imagine there are decent places in Britain to buy pizza, but all I've ever read about, or tried, was horrific pasteboard that appeared to be based upon some vague and awful fantasy about American pizza. (Not related to arty pizza, such as Two Boots, of course.)

Yet, as it turns out, Americans often do know the difference between Illinois, Connecticut, and Salerno. Though I suspect more Europeans have trouble spelling, off the top of their head, the former two than the latter.

Of course, I may be wrong.

(If you prefer Chicago version to New Haven, or vice versa, feel free to speak up, please.)

"I really loved the Deli sandwich I ate at MacDonald last month in London :)"

This is, by the way, a frightening notion. What the hell was in it?

Re: hating baseball? *This* pointy-headed liberal professor sang the National Anthem (solo) at a Durham Bulls game in May. Need I say more?

(And might have followed it with a ballpark hot dog, except that the giant burrito looked more appealing.)

The last time I went to a baseball game, I had sushi. However, it was in Fukuoka...

Actually, I've never been to a baseball game in my life. But I'm willing to assume I'd hate it: I find watching most organised sports incredibly dull.

JeS, it's great fun to play, and it seems to me if you like to play it, and don't like to watch it, you're still not in the 'hates baseball' camp.

There are a great many people who hate baseball, though. The game moves at a slower pace than most, and isn't particularly violent. It's very mental. OK, they all are, but baseball is more so.

And baseball certainly has the better mythology. I cannot imagine either The Natural or Field of Dreams being set in some other game. In the US, it is frequently said that the greatest rivalry in sport is between two particular baseball teams. I suppose there must be rivalries in the Premier league that are close to the http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385513542/qid=1133703880/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-3728791-3428056?n=507846&s=books&v=glance>Hundred Years War. This last season, the two finished with a 3 game set, billed by Fox as "The Nation vs. The Empire."

I can't tell you how disappointed I am to find that http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/castro.asp>this isn't true. Say it ain't so . . .

Of course, it can go well over over the top. The Red Sox, principal owner John Henry, just acquired pitcher Josh Beckett. So a fan site says that Beckett and Henry are linked through history, and links to a page describing the relationship between Henri II and Thomas a Beckett.

Will no one rid me of this split-finger fastballer?

Obviously, the Nation hopes for better luck this time 'round.

I will never forgive baseball for breaking my heart.

Never.

Shouldn't that be
'say it ain't so, Castro'?

Bill Richardson had a similar problem

I just clicked on the link hilzoy gave and I see that crionna corrected me on my tendons and ligaments. Given that this is an intellectual integrity thread, yes, absolutely right, tendons and ligaments are not the same,

But now I realize that I don't know the difference, so thanks to google, now I do

Charley: JeS, it's great fun to play, and it seems to me if you like to play it, and don't like to watch it, you're still not in the 'hates baseball' camp.

Oh, I've never played baseball. I have played rounders - practically compulsory if you were a girl in a British school! - but not for years. Haven't played any competitive team game for years, aside from a casual game of kickabout football - the last organized sport I played regularly was underwater hockey. Now that's fun.

Gary:
From the wiki: "In Australia, Britain and New Zealand, the selection is greatly extended with a range of healthier options under the menus "Salads Plus" (which offers salads, lean-beef burgers, yoghurts and more) and "Deli Choices" (submarine style sandwiches made fresh to order)."
I thought that qualified as adaption of american food. We (in the Netherlands) have the kroketburger but that is Americanising Dutch food, so it didn't count :)

Pizza has a wiki reference /a> too :)
I like Chicago style in US, but my best Pizza ever I ate in France :)

Cheese: I LIKE cheese. Not just Dutch cheese, but French cheese, italian cheese, danish cheese, even some Britisch cheeses. In the States I have so far (I've never been to the west coast though) not encountered anything labelled cheese that I liked - unless it was imported :)

From your whole foods I conclude you are from colorado :). They do seem to have choice in cheese, but if I read the description of Salemville Amish (which sounds American to me) you are still supposed to combine it, not eat it on toast and enjoy for it's own flavor :)
Most of the cheeses I tried in the States were a kind of cheddar and where more cardboard based than milkbased...

Ouch, preview is my friend...

That would be because Henke stated goals, not a strategy...

I missed the part where Henke expressly stated the goals, Gary. This is all really about semantics, anyway. For example, clear and hold and train is a strategy for accomplishing our strategic objective of providing adequate security to Iraq. That this strategy is put in a bullet-point list or not is beside the point. What Carlton apparently wants from the Bush pdf, switching the goalposts downthread mind you, is now a comprehensive strategy. The question then is, at what point do strategic "subplans" and the like start to look more like operational details and individual missions, i.e., tactics. Whatever. The argument basically goes nowhere. And let's face it, the implacable rejectionists will most assuredly implacably reject even a 235-page pdf for lack of specifics. This is not to say that more information doesn't need to be put out. The relevant issue, to me, is the fact that Bush provided one helpful bit of executive-level communication, but drilling down to the next level to get to the additional information is difficult work. Bush and Rumsfeld are at fault for this poor chain of communication.

Like I said, it's sad to see you attempt to argue that betraying the troops is compatible with being a patriot.

What is truly sad, Carleton, is that you are unwilling or unable to see the distinctions. Murtha's wrongheaded proposal for immediate withdrawal--despite the firsthand accounts of substantive progress from troops in Iraq--is a betrayal of the troops' mission and of what the troops are doing. It is not a betrayal of Murtha's country for him to make his proposals because it was never about his patriotism, but his judgment. He's already given up and thrown in the towel, this despite the plentiful feedback (such as here) that directly refute and contradict his claims that American troops have done all they could. I believe that Murtha is sincere when he says that immediate withdrawal is the best course for this nation, and that he truly feels he has our country's best interests at heart. I just believe his position is wrong, so awfully wrong that nothing less than a strong and forceful response was necessary, hence my post. I can understand how some may interpret it as maligning his patriotism, but it would be a false interpretation. That is why I expressly stated that I thought Murtha is a patriot and that he loves his country. If I had thought otherwise, I would have said so directly. You may interpret the post

By the way, the only one who is doing the patriotism questioning here is you, Carleton, when you made the ugly and false statement that I had a higher allegiance to political party than country. When lies like this are written, then heated responses and words like pigheadedly may appear. I am left to assume that you must be ignorant of the many posts I've written which are highly critical of Bush and his administration, and I suggest that you take a healthy look at my writings before you get the urge to start spouting that nonsense again.

Of course, this is just another side track; you still cannot articulate why Bush should fail to produce more details about our mission in Iraq and what milestones will allow us to bring specific groups of soldiers home.

It's as if there are no entities in the U.S. goverment below Office of the President. I will grant you that Bush offered little in the way of drilling to more of the details for how to attain victory, but it's not like the details don't exist. The State Department produces its weekly reports, as does the Multi-Nation Force and defendamerica.mil. A coordinated communication effort needs to be made, otherwise the void is filled in the unembedded MSM by the daily casualty reports and downtalking by its brethren.

As I posted under "Bush's Plan", the training of Iraq's spiffy new army is not entirely going according to plan...

"The training of Iraqi security forces has suffered a big "setback" in the last six months, with the army and other forces being increasingly used to settle scores and make other political gains, Iraqi Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer said Monday."

But I'm sure the Vice President is not qualified to make that assessment.

What is truly sad, Carleton, is that you are unwilling or unable to see the distinctions.

This view seems to be in the minority. It remains, in my view anyways, several incredible leaps of logic to be able to say someone can betray a nation's armed forces without betraying one's country - given the current situation. Perhaps if the nation's armed forces were colluding with the enemy, or seeking to overthrow the government, perhaps. Otherwise, not.

What Carlton apparently wants from the Bush pdf, switching the goalposts downthread mind you, is now a comprehensive strategy. The question then is, at what point do strategic "subplans" and the like start to look more like operational details and individual missions, i.e., tactics. Whatever. The argument basically goes nowhere.

You could not be less clear. Yes, I am asking for a comprehensive strategy. No, that is not a change in what I originally requested. No, I am not asking for tactical details. In fact, rather than asking for drilling down, I am asking for drilling up for a (as you put it) comprehensive view of our objectives and how we are going to reach them.
You are correct, though- your argument does go nowhere. Because it isn't an argument at all, just a rambling attempt at a disclaimer. To paraphrase :'Well, Carleton wants a comprehensive strategy. But sometimes, drilling down into strategy gets to the tactical level. Ah, heck with it.'

And let's face it, the implacable rejectionists will most assuredly implacably reject even a 235-page pdf for lack of specifics.

Im sure that there are some folks who would reject any statement of comprehensive strategy. Not relevant to whether or not Bush should actually publish one.
There isn't a single position that a president ever takes that *some* people won't object to. Yet, oddly, we still ask our presidents to sometimes articulate positions to the people. We're funny that way, we don't expect unanimous support, just some idea of where we're supposed to be going.

This is not to say that more information doesn't need to be put out. The relevant issue, to me, is the fact that Bush provided one helpful bit of executive-level communication, but drilling down to the next level to get to the additional information is difficult work. Bush and Rumsfeld are at fault for this poor chain of communication.

So you're arguing for incompetence rather than intent. The thing is, how hard is it to say "a theocracy in Iraq is '1)unacceptable' or '2)acceptable if that's what the voters want'"? That's the sort of question that needs answering. Is "victory" compatible with "Iranian client state" or "state where Sunnis are violently repressed and tortured by the Shia majority"?

Murtha's wrongheaded proposal for immediate withdrawal--despite the firsthand accounts of substantive progress from troops in Iraq--is a betrayal of the troops' mission and of what the troops are doing.

This is another attempted backpedal. You didn't initially accuse Murtha of betraying the troops *mission*, you accused him of betraying the troops themselves.
Of course someone who objects to what the troops are doing is working against their mission- he thinks that the mission is a bad idea. In that context the word "betray" is almost hysterical (eg If you wanted to get sushi for lunch and I suggest pizza, am I "betraying" the sushi plan?).
But it's still far, far away from betraying the troops, which is what you accused him of.
Yes, you could say that Murtha was a patriot while also saying that you disagreed with his judgement about the mission. But that's not what you did.

I can understand how some may interpret it as maligning his patriotism, but it would be a false interpretation. That is why I expressly stated that I thought Murtha is a patriot and that he loves his country. If I had thought otherwise, I would have said so directly.

Just because you put a disclaimer on the front doesn't make your attack any less a questioning of his patriotism. You keep trying to weaken your original statement (as you did above, shifting the object of the verb "betray"), but why can't you just admit that you went overboard in saying Murtha betrayed the troops?

By the way, the only one who is doing the patriotism questioning here is you, Carleton, when you made the ugly and false statement that I had a higher allegiance to political party than country. When lies like this are written, then heated responses and words like pigheadedly may appear.

By all means, use big words if you'd like. But, as I believe you've said before (on considerably less convincing evidence), I call 'em like I see 'em. It is clear that you are defending an adminstration that is not releasing the sort of statement that would allow the American people to understand what exactly we are trying to achieve in Iraq and how we can expect to get there. This, despite the (IMO obvious) fact that such a statement could only improve our understanding of where we're heading, what sort of commitments we can expect as a nation, and what success means in the mission.
This means to me that you care more about the fortunes of the Republican Party than those of Iraq.
(Also, nb, Iraq is not your country. Therefore if you think that supporting the GOP is more important to America than the outcome in Iraq then you aren't being unpatriotic, just hypocritical).

I am left to assume that you must be ignorant of the many posts I've written which are highly critical of Bush and his administration, and I suggest that you take a healthy look at my writings before you get the urge to start spouting that nonsense again.

And I am left to assume that you take it as an article of faith that rabid partisans never, ever criticise other participants in their causes. Read Kos sometime, he's clearly a Democratic partisan, and yet he manages to criticise Democrats- frequently and with vigor. That is to say, your defense is nonsense.
Actually, I have read many of your posts about Bush. They are almost pathological in their need to believe that Bush agrees with you on Iraq, even if he doesn't articulate it. Even when key people in the administration are openly disagreeing with you, you seem compelled to assume that this is due to some lack of communication (eg you called for Rumsfeld's dismissal in August when rumors said *he* wanted to draw down troop levels, because you felt that he wasn't being true to Bush- you assumed that Bush was, for some odd reason, 'letting Rumsfeld set his own agenda' http://tinyurl.com/d2n4b ).
Of course, when it started becoming clear that Bush was probably going to draw down next year (even if he hasn't admitted it in public yet, the trial balloons are obvious), you readjusted your position and got ahead of the curve (just like Rummy), and called for a drawdown "because their mission in Fallujah has been mostly accomplished", whereas in August you'd agreed that "insurgencies... take a decade or so to defeat" so no drawdown should occur (or, you quoted that without expressing disagreement).

It's as if there are no entities in the U.S. goverment below Office of the President.

It's as if most people don't get their information from piecing together Pentagon press releases. After all, you approvingly cite The Opinionated Bastard, who said that he had to "read the tea leaves" in order to get an idea of progress in training Iraqi troops and the implications for bringing American troops home. The average person will only learn the administration's position if it is articulated by their leading spokespeople.
Of course, having information go out this way gives the administration freedom of movement- everyone is free to read into Bush's stance what they would like to, and since they haven't committed to a concrete goal (other than "victory"), Bush can, at any time, set a low bar for "victory" and bring the troops home. Contrawise, he can keep the troops there through the end of his term, leaving the next president to try to figure out what "victory" was supposed to be.
If there were objectives in Iraq that you personally thought were very important, you would presumably want to protect them from such interference. Even if you trusted Bush's intent without question (which you apparently do, judging from your frequently writing that his flaws are in communication, not intent), you would at least want a clear statement of objectives so that other parts of the government (ie Congress, or a new president in '08) will have a comprehensive strategy and a set of objectives already outlined. Any departure from that would require explaining why to the American people.

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