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August 21, 2006

Comments

Far too little too late. Firing Rumsfeld may make some feel better, but it won't improve the situation on the ground in Iraq.

The president has yet again made it clear that we will continue on in Iraq through the end of his presidency.

Rumsfeld is a problem, but not the only one who needs to be relieved.

It's all going to change after they capture Saddam.

Once we get Zarqawi, the insurgency will be over.

If we could only get rid of Rumsfeld, we could really turn it around.

"The first step is to bring in some new thinking."

Pretending that getting rid of Rumsfeld will bring you back your cakewalk doesn't look like new thinking to me.

So far, Bush has not exercised sufficient judgment to do so.

Bush has never exercised sufficient judgement on any matter, big or small. what makes you think he'd replace Rumsfled with anyone better ? he'd probably choose someone primarily based on their ability to shore up his support with The Base. maybe Ollie North is available?

It's the end of the film. Incidentally, this record's available in the foyer. Some of us have got to live as well, you know. Who do you think pays for all this rubbish? They'll never make their money back, you know. I told him. I said to him, "Bernie", I said, "They'll never make their money back."

Surely firing Rumsfeld would embolden someone somewhere. And if there's one thing I've learned since 2001 is that we must not have any more emboldening.

Bravely bold Sir Donald rode forth from Camelot. He was not afraid to die, oh brave Sir Donald. He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways, brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Donald. He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp, or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken. To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away, and his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Donald. His head smashed in and heart cut out, and his liver removed, and his bowels unplugged, and his nostrils ripped and his bottom burned off and his penis...

By way of comparison, New York City had 40,435 sworn officers in 2000, or 1 for every 200 inhabitants.

McCain's Easy Call for More Troops

Bill Arkin says any call for "more troops for Iraq", now or at any time in the campaign, is really really stupid, of a particularly Beltway brand of stupidity, and makes John McCain unfit to be President.

What he means by this is a little cryptic. I think he is saying what we are seeing is the only war it was possible to wage and those who approved the invasion should have the decency to publicly readjust their goals and ambitions for Iraq.

IOW, "more troops, less Rumsfeld, better war" is the political equivalent of "cut taxes, cut spending, balance budget." Easy Beltway BS, without the possibility of becoming reality so free of consequences.

This was the only we were gonna have, with the President and the country we have. I, in the past, liked to think that an FDR, JFK, or Reagan could have mobilized more dramatically and effectively, but honesty at this point forces me to admit that my idea was as stupid as being greeted in Baghdad with flowers.

The war was a bad idea, a disastrous mistake the likes of which this country has never known before. The kind that brings a nation down.

Lessons Learned

Yglesias assists in the mass Pollack-stomping going on this weekend:

"Note the pointed absence of a call[by Pollack in 2003] for 300,000 or 400,000 or 500,000 troops. Rather, "at least 100,000" was said to be adequate. And if you look back at the record, you'll find that this was entirely typical of hawkish writing at the time -- the adequacy of a small force wasn't an eccentric Rumsfeldian view; it was held by almost all of the hawks, liberal or otherwise, who backed the war." ...MY

Matt, they lie. The war was going to happen, with inadequate troops, and go very badly. and they knew it all along. However, anybody who said so, or says so now, will never get listened to in the hallowed halls again. They cover each other's...butts. A club.

"By way of comparison, New York City had 40,435 sworn officers in 2000, or 1 for every 200 inhabitants."


Basically, Bush is trying to accomplish something on the order of policing Boston, Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, New York, Newark, Camden and Philadelphia using only the NYPD.

The war was a bad idea, a disastrous mistake the likes of which this country has never known before. The kind that brings a nation down.

Vare, redde mihi legiones!

And, having been there, I'm not sure any number of cops would be enough for Camden. That is, after all, the city where one official shot another over an argument about where the parking meter revenues were going to go.

Am I the only one to be put in mind of the hoots of derision from Republicans and their supporters back in 2004 when John Kerry, in the Presidential debates, called for a reinforcement of 40,000 troops for Iraq (to help secure Baghdad, IIRC)? The line then was that the 150,000 or so personnel currently in-theater were quite up to the job - insurgency in its "last throes", etc. -
and that a President Kerry's commitment of more forces to Iraq would just be a waste of time and resources (as well as an insincere sop to the war-supportive "middle").

So remind us again how much better off the situation is after 2 more years of a Bush Adminstration?

Yea, blame Rumsfeld rather than one's self. It's that strong determination and capacity for self criticism that I really love about all the Iraqi hawks. I'm sure we'll see much the same foresight and careful planning regarding Iran.

Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja!... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.

Am I crazy to think that Lieberman and the Republicans might be up to something? It's been speculated for some time that Lieberman has had his eye on Rumsfeld's job, and the Republicans are doing everything they can to get Lieberman, who promises to still caucus with the Democrats, into a fourth term in the Senate.

Now the Republicans' behavior is perfectly understandable absent any really underhanded shenanigans; Joe is more or less their inside man, willing to stick a shiv in the Democratic Party at a moment's notice. It has been persuasively argued that he is complicit in his own party's perpetual minority status. He is probably worth more to them in the Senate than his Republican replacement would ever be, so there are non-crazy explanations for recent events. But, to step through the looking-glass for just a moment, what if Joe is planning to resign his post shortly after the election? Connecticut has a (moderate) Republican Governor. Rumsfeld is about due for a Medal of Freedom. Am I doing the math wrong?

Or would Rumsfeld need to be ejected before November to benefit the Republicans?

I disagree. Secretary Rumsfeld's removal would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq.

"He is probably worth more to them in the Senate than his Republican replacement would ever be"

Assuming the Republicans can hold onto the Senate, I mean.

Pretending that getting rid of Rumsfeld will bring you back your cakewalk doesn't look like new thinking to me.

My cakewalk? Since I never predicted one, you must be talking about someone else, kid.

So remind us again how much better off the situation is after 2 more years of a Bush Adminstration?

I didn't criticize Kerry for wanting more troops, Jay. At the time, I wasn't sure what the optimal levels should have been. I did criticize him for wanting timetables for withdrawal (and prioritizing them in his campaign), which was as stupid then as is now, and for broad hints that he would cut and run at the earliest convenience. If he had actually detailed what his "better plan" was, I would've listened. Alas.

Yea, blame Rumsfeld rather than one's self.

Exactly, Hal. You blame the architect of the current mission, and Rumsfeld is the one should be held responsible, i.e., fired. "To Rumsfeld" should be another Internet verb, meaning to confidently swagger into a war situation without adequate planning for contingencies, without adequate manpower and without an initial working plan for subduing a sticky insurgency.

The only reason Rumsfeld would be replaced is if he's expressing reservations about the attack on Iran. Cheney made sure he kept his job in 2004, and it'll be Cheney who decides whether he keeps his job now. Karl Rove might weigh in on the timing.

I disagree. Secretary Rumsfeld's removal would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq.

Im fairly certain that any grand strategy based solely on doing what your opponents don't like and not doing what they like is doomed to failure.
This counts double when your assertion is itself dubious- if opponents of America's presence in Iraq comprehend how badly Rummy has screwed the pooch, they could not help but be concerned that almost any replacement would be bound to act with greater competence...

As for Charles' point- I would admit that, had we gone in with 300k troops & taken postwar planning seriously, the war *might* have gone well. My suspicion is that this is not the case, but Im perfectly willing to dispel any rumors of my omniscience.
I would love to hear more hawks say something similar- at this point in the game, why can so few of them even admit the *possibility* that the whole venture was a mistake? Admitting mistakes, particularly those of this magnitude, is no fun, but it's hardly Olympian.
Instead, we get alternate history fiction and Monday-morning quarterbacking.

Remember that it's Mr. "I am the decider" who is responsible for Rumsfeld and who has vociferously backed him. You know -- the one whose greatest fault, according to you, is that he is an indifferent communicator. This is not about Rumsfeld, nor can accountability be limited to him. The entire Republican party has stood firm with Rumsfeld, and still does.

Rumsfeld should've been gone after Bush was reelected. Why Bush or anyone else would think that his job performance would improve over time is a mystery.

Here's a start toward redemption -- rewrite this to say "Bush should have been gone in 2004. Why Charles or anyone else would think that his job performance would improve over time is a mystery."

Other remarks cannot be saved. Such as:

If ever there's a time to push harder, smarter and faster, it's now.

No -- that time passed over two years ago, and you were one of the chorus not faulting Bush et al. when it really mattered. When is it too late in your playbook to push harder, smarter, faster? I assume never.

Well -- you got this right.

So far, Bush has not exercised sufficient judgment to do so [bring in new thinking]. He's going to regret it, as will the rest of the Republican Party.

What is your new thinking on the subject? Get rid of Rumsfeld, who will be replaced with his clone? Seems that you are having a hard time acting on your own advice.

Are you now advocating a large increase in US forces in Iraq? Before you do so, maybe someone should do some serious thinking (unlike the past failures to bother) as to how much force it will take to uncrap the bed -- and its not about securing a country that you have just invaded. It's the amount of force necessary to quell a civil war and rein in very large militias backed by millions of Iraqis.

Otherwise, advocating "harder, smarter, faster" is yet another round of empty rhetoric. Its become a question of how many more billions and how many more shattered lives are going to be wasted while Republicans muse over how they can avoid being blamed for this debacle.

die
italics
die

TY cleek.

There is emboldening going on here, and it's making baby Republican Jesus cry. Stop it.

According to Greek mythology King Croesus sent envoys to the Oracle at Delphi asking if he should invade Persia. The answer came back, "Attack the Persians and you will destroy a great empire". Emboldened, he attacked Persia and his armies were annihilated. He complained to the priests at Delphi that he had been mislead.
The priests responded, "Didn't you destroy your own empire?"
In the same way, it seems the president was emboldened by Rumsfield's predictions of a quick, bloodless victory with Iraqis greeting American troops with flowers and candy and song, a victory that would cost nothing as Iraqi oil revenues would pay for any expenditures of American treasure.
When GWB was told he would destroy an army, he made the same mistake as Croesus. Now he is wanting to invade the Persians.........
You can't seem to get a good Oracle these days.

So far, Bush has not exercised sufficient judgment to do so. He's going to regret it, as will the rest of the Republican Party.

What about the rest of the world? I think we have some regrets too.

Well, hocb has moved from Blogger to hocb.net and you are all welcome to discuss the meta here.

We are still sorting things out, and if DaveC would get in touch with me, I have a set of blog keys for him.

There is emboldening going on here

italicizing, soo

soo = too

We must be resolute and unwavering in the face of emboldened italics.

Re: HOCB: Comments aren't showing up (and I registered and everything).

OK, try it now, Spartikus. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

If ever there's a time to push harder, smarter and faster, it's now.

Is this the discus, shotput or modern pentathlon?

Anybody link to Billmon yet?

"At this point, I would say Shrub is acting like a hedgehog on hallucinogens. His one big integrative idea -- exporting American-style "democracy" to Iraq at the point of a gun -- has proven fatally, disasterously wrong, but he can't let go of it, because it's the only idea he's got. He's fully vested in it, like a '90s e-trader who decided to throw caution to the wind, empty his retirement account and bet it all on pets.com.

I think if Shrub were ever forced to let go of his vision, his one big idea, it would not only crush his fragile ego, it would leave him completely incapable of making any sense at all out of his presidency, out of America's role in the Middle East, out of the universe.

So now he's imitating the hedgehog as literally as any human being can -- he's rolled himself up into a defensive ball, spines out. He has nothing useful to say and absolutely no strategy beyond hunkering down and passively defying reality. Which leaves the generals and the troops no choice but to hunker down with him."

All this has very little to do with Rumsfeld. Any other man in that position would have to deal with the arrogant boyking and end with much the same policy. This is like blaming Christie Whitman for environmental policy or Paul O'Neill for fiscal policy.

Oh, and see my post above. In the hallowed halls of the DC establishment, all must cover the ultimate..ass.

CB, what's your plan B? As I so often end of commenting to your posts, the government is not interested in doing it your way. And is not going to do it your way. Which means that the result you see as coming from doing it your way doesn't justify the action that's actually being taken.

To put it another way:Rumsfeld didn't tell Bush stuff that suited Rumsfeld;he didn't tell Bush even what Bush wanted to hear;

he told Bush the very limited stuff and kind of stuff that Bush would even conceivably listen to. You could not tell Bush we needed more troops;since there were no more troops, or for reasons Arkin explains in todays post, more troops meant no invasion.

It isn't that you can't give Bush bad news. He won't hear it, and will kill the messenger. He is insane. In the case of Iraq, since he had to show up his daddy, perhaps literally kill the messenger.

OK, try it now, Spartikus.

mine didn't show up. Spartikus' did.

"disasterously"?

Well, hocb has moved from Blogger to hocb.net and you are all welcome to discuss the meta [t]here.

tried posting this twice over there. since it wouldn't show up, i'm gonna post it here, so's i don't loses it.

---

apologies embarass;
hairshirts, how they itch!
flagellation stings him;
penance? for Catholics;
confession's for the guilty;
pardon's not his to give;
'mea culpa', hints at weakness;
punishment, no, none for him

I am so very greatly offended by this image of Bush dangling like a marionette at the end of Rumsfeld's strings. This is a very grave compliment t this President. Reagan was the "sidekick" in Hollywood for tears. He played supporting roles, learned his lines, hit his marks, let the studio head call him "the best friend, never the lead", grabbed his paycheck, and went drinking with Errol. A mensch. I think he listened very carefully to his advisors, knowing they knew more.

It is pretty obvious to me that Bush43 has never obeyed an order or followed advice in his entire life. Maybe in the guard, but probably with a sneer. He is a weak and contemptible man, but his weakness lies precisely in his unwillingness to listen to anyone else.

Bush is the decider, dudes. Everybody else works for him. Rumsfeld is just another flunky.

I thought he was dangling from Rove's strings. Can't tell the puppet from the puppetmaster these days without your program.

I thought he was dangling from Rove's strings

Bush and Rove are the two parts of a binary system - each orbiting the other - yet each thinking he's the center. anything unfortunate enough to get near them is torn apart by the violent waves of mendacity and incompetence.

I recall reading an article back in 2004 (don't know where) in which an administration official (anonymous, so take it for what it's worth) said that of course Rumsfeld would stay: Firing him would be the same as admitting the war hadn't gone well, and Bush wasn't willing to do that.

Which is one reason I'm not surprised we won't retreat (according to Bush's latest statement) as long as Dubya is president: That way he can tell himself and everyone else that he managed everything brilliantly and the fact the Mideast isn't at peace is all his successor's fault. If the successor is a Democrat, that will be the official Republican spin, to boot.

"I thought he was dangling from Rove's strings."

Once upon a time maybe. And in terms of political machinations. maybe still does. But he is still "the decider," and he actually thinks he knows what he is doing.

Rumsfeld leaving would accomplish nothing.
Bush refuses to admit that mistakes may have been made. Any drastic change would be tantamount to that admission.

And CB, as usual, you have totally mischaracterized what Kerry talked about in the campaign. And please stop with the "cut and run" drivel. It is really getting tedious.

I think Rove and Cheney had a laugh on Washington and the Republican establishment. They thought it was funny that the Shrub was so misperceived. They understood his positions well enough that they could work with him, but they also knew that nobody else was going to influence him.

Hey. Why did Bush personally take charge of Social Security Reform? Because nobody, even Rove, could walk into his office and tell Bush it couldn't be sold. I am sure Bush was sent out there to find out for himself, as a defense of his underlings. And everybody is his underling.

Remember Rove laying down in front of the airplane? I remember Cheney calling Bush "bossman." It wasn't a joke, or affectionate ribbing. Bush has never had a boss. Jeez. A man who has arranged his life so that he has never had to answer to anyone.
It's real. Bush is entitled to subservience, and was born to rule.

Wait. I'm confused. It's Rumsfeld's fault? Last time I checked, the problem was lack of will. Didn't we get the big spiel about a will to victory being needed?

It appears the failure of will is spreading.

Charles Bird sounds like a Defeatocrat!

If ever there's a time to push harder, smarter and faster, it's now.

I second dmbeaster's question: when, in your opinion, is it not time to "push harder, smarter and faster"?

And also:

You blame the architect of the current mission, and Rumsfeld is the one should be held responsible, i.e., fired.

Why Rumsfeld? Why not Bush?

You blame the architect of the current mission, and Rumsfeld is the one should be held responsible, i.e., fired.

This is once again predicated on the idea that Donald Rumsfeld is performing his job and conducting this war in anything other than the manner in which George W. Bush wants him to do so, which assumes facts not in evidence. In fact, it contradicts everything we know about Bush; his administration has not at any time been shy about ridding itself of people who do not perform in the manner Bush wants them to. Therefore, we can conclude that Rumsfeld is doing exactly what Bush wants him to. The remainder is left as an exercise for the reader.

So far, Bush has not exercised sufficient judgment to do so. He's going to regret it, as will the rest of the Republican Party.

What are you going to do? Not elect Bush to a third term? Cripes.

As for "the rest of the Republican Party," the boys at the RNC will start a coordinated "Terrorists! Faggots! Burning Flags!" campaign in the next few weeks and you all will jump like you always do to push the "R" button.

Why not the GOP?

No, it's all a matter of will. You are just a loser defeatist!

You voted for this. A ten year old with a history book could have predicted every bit of it, so don't pretend you didn't know exactly what you were voting for.

Morning cleek,
not sure why, but I've turned off another two barriers that might be causing problems.

More of this

Rumsfeld should've been gone after Bush was reelected
please. This is what we'll need to understand.

Yo, Charles! Thanks buddy, I really appreciate it.

(this post is clearly as close to "Sorry, I was wrong and you were right" as Charles can drag himself to admit, so I accept it in that spirit)

Go, and sin no more.

You know -- the one whose greatest fault, according to you, is that he is an indifferent communicator.

No, dm. His greatest fault, according to me, is that he hasn't governed as a conservative, followed by his pitiful communications apparatus, albeit slightly better with Tony Snow.

CB, what's your plan B?

Complain loudly, Charley. There's not much else. It worked with Harriet Miers, and right now, there are quite a few conservatives who are displeased with how Iraq is going. With enough conservatives, the Dissatisfieds have a chance to get heard.

And CB, as usual, you have totally mischaracterized what Kerry talked about in the campaign.

In his campaign, john, Kerry prioritized troop withdrawals. The format has gone clunky, but Trevino put together a good post on the issue.

The year has been a good one for the society. This year, our members have put more things on top of other things than ever before. But I should warn you, this is no time for complacency. No, there are still many things, and I cannot emphasize this too strongly, not on top of other things. I myself, on my way here, saw a thing that was not on top of another thing in any way. ("Shame!") Shame indeed but we must not allow ourselves to become too despondent. For, we must never forget that if there was not one thing that was not on top of another thing our society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men that had gathered together for no good purpose. But we flourish.

With enough conservatives, the Dissatisfieds have a chance to get heard.

As opposed to the 60% of Americans who oppose the war.

Only conservatives opinions count, you see, in this reign of the uniter, not divider.

but Trevino put together a good post

Speaking of which, somebody should point out to dear old Josh that "Islamism hasn't been crushed in Najaf". Then again, that might spur him to write another confused post about the need to return to the goold old days. Of 1101 A.D.

Good morning, gentlemen. This is a twelve-storey block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive in the entrance hall here, and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort and past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these...

spartikus: your wish is his command. he just did. An excerpt:

A half-decade after the definitive announcement of Islamism's war upon us, we have seen the West (in which we must include Israel) engage in five major campaigns in riposte:
In Iraq.
In Afghanistan.
In Lebanon.
In "Palestine."
In the banlieus and ethnic neighborhoods of its own cities.

Not one of them is won, nor even close to being won.
... it is, rather, a result of a moral abdication afflicting the entire West.

apparently atheism has something to do with it.

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!

Complain loudly, Charley. There's not much else.

Would you rather continue the status quo, or head for the exits? These are the only items on the menu.

BTW, I thought Mr. T.'s post, excerpted by Francis above, was one of the most defeatist pieces I've ever read on US Mideast policy. And that http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1204>Debka bit linked in a comment (no. 335, by Kierkegaard) quite the indictment of our government.

Only a new Osama tape can save Republican morale now . . .

Interesting to contrast the Mr. T post with Ignatius musings about Al-Jazeera here

"BTW, I thought Mr. T.'s post, excerpted by Francis above, was one of the most defeatist pieces I've ever read on U.S. Mideast policy."

Tacitus is bound and determined to chronicle the fall of western civilization. If we make it out alive, he'll lose his gig.

Incidentally, I knew it was T as soon as I saw the last five years referred to as "a half-decade..". He and Paul Cella bathe in the overpowering cologne of extreme heaviosity.

Each breathe they take contains epochs.... and probably helium..

By the way, the estimable Larry Kudlow pointed oot tonight on CNBC that Congressional Republican candidates are now 2 points behind Democrats in generic polls, up from a 12-point deficit six weeks ago.

He crowed (baring his little brown teeth in pure delight at the thought, kind of like Osama Bin Laden was said to have done when he found out the towers has actually fallen down) that terrorism was the reason.

Now, I calculate, using economic and political incentive theories put forth by conservatives everywhere, that if Rush Limbaugh is correct that Democrats must "never again" be trusted with national security, then ipso fatso, as Archie Bunker used to say, terrorism will be with us ... forever.

It has to be. How else are the Republicans going to have the time to give Medicare a good rogering?

'towers "had" ', natch.

It's funny to see articles about al Jazeera and the WOT that don't mention the role AJ apparently played in the capture of 9/11 plotters RBAS and KSM. As Suskind tells the story, AJ did what the CIA couldn't do in finding them, and then reported their whereabouts to the US. You'd think this would be relevant inIgnatius' conversation with one of the principals in that transaction.

There is a possibility that this is not something they would like to advertise that. I don't mean to frame that in a bad way, but I think it might be understandable. Still, the article reads like Ignatius wouldn't have brought it up.

CharleyCarp: BTW, I thought Mr. T.'s post, excerpted by Francis above...

The cute nickname is a bit borderline, isn't it? Particularly in light of our recent discussion on names and respect and such?

Interesting point, Gromit. I didn't consider that when I used it, I just used it because it was the most recent referent, though I did think about the mismatch between 'I pity the fool' and Tacitus' style.

Oh. I meant no disrespect. I never watched The A Team when it was on, and though I know who the actor is, I didn't at all connect it to my reference to JT.

It seems to me that I read a bunch of 'I'll only take that job in Duluth if they'll buy me a vacation house in Florida' posts, from CB and others, and when one says 'Hey, they've announced they're not buying you a house in Florida, why are you moving to Duluth?' one gets back, 'They'll see their error. Let me tell you once again about the glories of having a house in Florida.'

then ipso fatso, as Archie Bunker used to say, terrorism will be with us ... forever.

as i always say...

GOP 06: we have nothing to offer but fear itself

we have nothing to offer but fear itself

And surprise, and ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope

. . . though I did think about the mismatch between 'I pity the fool' and Tacitus' style.

Mismatch? "I pity the fool" IS Trevino's style. Not in the ironic Mr. T. way, but in the real, "Alas, alack" kind of way.

The technical term is "more in sorrow than in anger", Phil, although it usually ends up at "more in douchebaggery than in cogency." So close, yet so far.

I know, I just hate to resort to cliche. :)

"He's going to regret it, as will the rest of the Republican Party."

What about us? You know, the citizens of this country who will forever feel the effects of this catastrophic failure.
Bush is the Commander in Chief. The "Decider." He's the one ultimately responsible for the mess we are in. Firing Rumsfeld is pointless. Good Lord.

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