« Historical Accuracy | Main | We Can All Be Enemy Combatants! »

September 25, 2006

Comments

Why Donald Rumsfeld still has any job at all, let alone the one he had at the beginning of this administration, is a mystery that passeth human understanding.

i'd extend that to Bush, Cheney, Rice, Frist, Santorum, Delay, Kathleen Harris, and Jean Schmidt (whose name i couldn't remember but found via google:"ohio congresswoman insane").

but, they have their jobs because enough people are stupid (sorry, there's not a better word - take it up with your thesaurus) enough to vote them into office. of course, i didn't vote for any of them. and when i tried to convince other people to not vote for them, i was called an America-hating, pro-Saddam, terroist-loving traitor.

sorry if i lowered the tone here. the baseline is falling everywhere - i can't help but fall with it.

Are things messy? Of course. Did we have a plan? Why would we not? To go to war without a plan would be to go to war without tanks, or troops, or some other such nonsense. Have things been difficult? How could the not be? It's war, and as we all know about war, war does not survive first contact with the enemy. Have we lost men? Unfortunately. Women? Yes. But let's not forget that those men and women stand proud today for what they died for. Can we win the peace? Most certainly. Do things look bleak? I don't think so, certainly the President doesn't think so, I would encourage you to also listen to the Vice President, who is about as un-bleak a man there is.

So, I say to you, are we winning? I say yes, so does the President. Secretary of State Rice? Yep. The Veep? Uh huh. Laura? Stands by her man. Karl Rove? Ask the polls. Look, no one is saying this would be easy, certainly not me, I never said that, not once. Should we quit now? Such pessimism, did the Germans quit when they bombed Pearl Harbor? No, they went right on rolling behind Sherman to Atlanta. Explains a lot, I think. Just the other day I was musing to the little man on my shoulder, "Gosh, things sure are nice in Iraq these days. Have you tried Ahmed's ka-bobs? Delicious. Saddam's breafast bread? Outstanding. Sometimes you just have to taste the sights through your own nose Mr. Sniggly." One more question for myself before I go, are things better than they were five years ago? Does that question answer itself? Does another question come to mind? Can we all just get along? Golly, it's not up to me, I just work here.

And while I'm at it, read this, from Intel Dump, as well.

The brilliant response to the first comment on that thread perfectly encasulates today's political environment.

To paraphrase "it's frightening that speaking the truth is considered partisan".

I know there are 152 comments over at Intel Dump, but the first two are critical:

"Can someone tell me if Intel Dump is supposed to be an objective source of non-biased analysis on intelligence matters, or a subsidiary of Moveon.org??

Geezus JD.. At least make a miniscule attempt at being impartial and objective.

Or if you're going to take on the task of representing the Democratic side of this issue, make an attempt at explaining how they are going to deal with terrorism.

It one thing for participants like us to make biased commentary to your posts. But you're the man who is supposed to set the tone for this website and I'm disappointed that you can't leave your anti-bush bias at the door." ...Diogenes, followed by a response by Henderson that attempts to frame the issue in non-partisan terms.

Sorry, this is a partisan issue, as should be obvious from the above comment. This is the way the Republican leadership treats the military and national security not just Rumsfeld, but also Congress, with enthusiastic aid and comfort from the Party base.

A Very Long Emergency ...Kevin Drum

The Army Chief of Staff has to replace equipment, do some training and recruiting, and is refusing to submit a budget until he gets respect:

....According to a senior Army official involved in budget talks, Schoomaker is now seeking $138.8 billion in 2008, nearly $25 billion above budget limits originally set by Rumsfeld. The Army's budget this year is $98.2 billion, making Schoomaker's request a 41% increase over current levels.

"It's incredibly huge," said the Army official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity when commenting on internal deliberations. "These are just incredible numbers."

spartikus beat me to it;this is partly to make sure I closed italics, which I felt necessary

Small correction, Hilzoy. There were two retired Army generals and a retired Marine colonel at the policy hearing. In addition to those transcripts there are pdf files of the three speakers prepared statements at the DPC Hearings website

Small side note: the third speaker, Col. Thomas X. Hammes (USMC Ret.), is the author of The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century.

Why Donald Rumsfeld still has any job at all,

Because his boss is an even biggger dork, who is supported by legions of Powerline types that think his boss is the modern day equivalent of Churchill.

J.D.'s post at Intel Dump is definitely worth the read, as is his rebuttal to the first comment.

It is no surprise that the first comment attacks J.D. for "partisanship" without once disputing any of the facts that he recites.

nous: right you are. Thanks. Correction forthcoming.

Because his boss is an even biggger dork, who is supported by legions of Powerline types that think his boss is the modern day equivalent of Churchill.

I'm sorry, I don't believe that. Can you Google me a few dozen sources?

I'm sorry, I don't believe that. Can you Google me a few dozen sources?

Powerline, May 07 2005:
To a greater extent than any politician since Churchill, President Bush has set forth and defended his policies in a series of speeches that combine intellectual brilliance and philosophical gravity. Today's speech in Latvia was the latest in this series, and, like the others, it will be studied by historians for centuries to come.

FrontPage Magazine, July 1st 2004:
To fight the war on terror, they want Bush. To handle domestic problems, they want Kerry. How similar the situation is to the 1945 Churchill vs. Atlee election in the United Kingdom.

Ann Coulter, in an interview with Right Wing News:
George Bush [is] a 21st century Churchill.

Mind you, that was on page one of the list of google hits. I'm icing my back after a trip to the chiropractor, and not in the mood to keep copying and pasting HREFs. ;)

Wow. Comedy really is dead ;)

Anarch - I'm afraid it's been dead a long time. Tom Lehrer reckoned that satire was over when they gave Henry Kissinger the Nobel peace prize.

"I think Donald Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had. People ought to let him do his job." - Dick Cheney, May 9 2004

"You're doing a superb job. You are a strong secretary of defense, and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude." - George W. Bush, May 10 2004


Why are we celebrating this guy and his recent statement? There is all sorts of talk now about Dems taking principled stands, yet this sort of s*** gets not just a pass, but an applause.

A few points:
1.Where they f*** were these sentiments three and a half years ago when it would have really mattered?
2.Blame Rumsfeld, yes. But what about folks like John Warden and the others who followed his advice and promulgated the air campaign?
3.And re blame: apart from Rumsfeld, and other neocons in the administration, we should not forget the contributions of Paul Bremer. If you want to understand what went wrong in Iraq – in re the Shia and in relation to the bogus bit about democracy – check the actions of this man. From the historical ignorance that was the de-Ba’athification program to pissing off the Shia, no one on the ground in Iraq screwed the pooch more than Bremer. On the other hand, he succeeded famously at helping the US rob the country blind.
4.We are still operating under the assumption that the problem in Iraq was and is amenable to a military solution. Soldiers win hearts and minds at the end of a gun barrel. Right.
5. “If we had seriously laid out and considered the full range of requirements for the war in Iraq . . .” (etc.) How do we otherwise justify your job, Gen. Batiste?
6.“He does not comprehend the human dimension of warfare.”
Indeed. Why, “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?” Really, no kidding. Neocon misanthropists who have nothing but contempt for the masses do not understand the human dimension of warfare. Surprising.

From the Intel-dump link: “The commander of Fort Eustis recently admitted that the Army was ordered not to plan for the post-war occupation of Iraq, and that when Army leaders continued to argue with Secretary Rumsfeld over the critical need for a post-war plan, he threatened to fire the next person that mentioned the subject.”

And most of the Gen. Batiste’s in the military put their careers over the good of the nation and the good of their respective services. Can we all imagine what the impact would have been had all the Gen. Batistes in the military resigned their commissions in response to the leadership of Rumsfeld?

F*** you Batiste! You are a day late and a dollar short and tens of thousands of people are dead because of your cowardice, because you balked from putting your money where your mouth was when it would have mattered. Now that the tide of opinion has turned, you speak up. Von Mellenthin did as much.

“Otto, Ich bin kein Nazi,” says Otto’s former commander in the 1992 German film “Stalingrad” as he tries to rationalize his culpability for the fate of the 6th Army. Check Otto’s response: you’re worse, you of all people should have known better.

Cleek,

Not "stupid." Scared and ignorant, but not stupid.

Otto, while I share your anger, I think that the officer corps is going to bend over backwards before it begins to get involved in politics. That they are speaking out at such a crucial time before the midterms suggests that the stakes are really high and they see an even greater danger with the Republicans given another 2 years to do what they have been doing.

Otto: Where they f*** were these sentiments three and a half years ago when it would have really mattered?

Ask Eric Shinseki.

LJ, Jes, all,

Yes, yes. I sincerely apologize for the narrowness of my recent rant. My rationalization: I'm a bit tired of everyone and their cousin coming out of the woodwork over the past year or so and talking about what an awful job the Bush admin. is doing in Iraq (And fomenting terrorism? What does 8 years of bombing under Clinton do to a population?). Where were these comments in the winter of '02-'03 when anyone with a pair of eyes and a library card could have figured out what the score was? The plan for post-war Iraq? There was a whole public debate on this topic, for example, in the German press at the time. Here in the US? Barely a peep. We will march on a road of bones.

And my apologies to Gen. Batiste. Better late than never.

No need to apologize, Otto. It's a great point, and it would be interesting (but obviously impossible) if we could quantify the amount that was out of fear of ill-treatment, lack or promotion, etc (obviously Batiste's refusal of promotion makes his position a bit more compelling) and the amount that was because the tradition of having civilian control of the military compelled some to bite their tongue. So too might have been the calculation that maybe things would be alright, and we wouldn't be at a dead end, so protest at an earlier point could have left those complaining out on a limb. But, like I said, ultimately unknowable.

Incidentally, this Pat Lang post on his evolving take on Gen. Schoomaker may be of interest

Wow! Understand otto's anger.
Will it make any difference? It appears, from this distance, that US politics is utterly polarised, Democrat against Republican. Will the Democrats stand for anything in the coming election, against torture etc? Or just sit back and hope that people will vote the other guys out.

Or just sit back and hope that people will vote the other guys out.

Debbie, see, it may look that way from Australia, but actually the Dems are waiting for the Republicans to get overconfident. Then, they they least expect it, whammo, they'll jump em. My money is on 2016...

lj, Will you be able to vote for Dems in 2016?
Won't Bush be pres for life, with the beginnings of the Bush dynasty? ;)

I won't, I'll be voting for the Japanese prime minister by that time.

Otto, I share your anger: I just see good reasons (I agree with Liberal Japonicus on this) why we haven't heard anything much from the military side on the Bush administration's incompetence. Not least, that Shinseki's example proved that telling the Bush administration what they don't want to hear won't get you anywhere. Right after the invasion of Iraq, when it was clear that the Bush administration had made no plans at all for the occupation - not even for the first few crucial days - several people resigned their government jobs in order to be able to speak out against the Bush administration. That impressed me enormously: but, they didn't get listened to. (The lack of protection for the Baghdad Museum was responsible for at least two resignations: I think the people who spoke out about the looting of hospitals were mostly NGOs who had a responsibility to speak up.) People were speaking up. But, as we saw in 2004, any report on the horrifying mess that the Bush administration had made of Iraq (from the Lancet to the Human Rights Watch) was disregarded or ridiculed by the supporters of the Bush administration.

I'm far more angry with the people who could have spoken out, whose careers were not on the line, and who as right-wingers might have been listened to among the right-wing - and who nonetheless continued to support the Bush administration and claim all was well in Iraq if not for the "liberal media" reporting all the bad stuff.

The information was there all along: from the unchecked looting of hospitals, museums, and arms dumps in 2003, to the massive civilian casualties reported in 2004. Not only did the Bush administration not listen, those determined to see Bush made President again in 2005 did not listen.

lj, hopefully you and I will stil be living in democracies then.
I find, what is hapenning in the US, very scary. Our current PM seems very much taken with the Anerican way of doing things.

Cleek, Not "stupid." Scared and ignorant, but not stupid.

we all have access to the same information. to look at what we all know and then decide that BushCo is doing a good job and deserves to keep doing it isn't ignorant: no, that's a fundamental inability to draw simple conclusions.

Moe: All right, tell me when I hit the sweet spot.
Homer: Deeper, you pusillanimous pilsner pusher!
Moe: All right, all right.
[with a small hammer and chisel,
taps the crayon further up Homer's nose]
Homer: De-fense! [woof-woof] De-fense! [woof-woof]
Moe: Eh, that's pretty dumb. But, uh ... [taps once more]
Homer: Re-elect the Republicans? How can I lose?
Moe: Perfect.

Imagine the good General's words coming during a Democratic administration. The media would be all over it.

Let’s see. Democrats convene “a watershed hearing into the Bush Administration's conduct of the war in Iraq.” They invite 3 retired military officers whose views are already well known. They invite no military officers with opposing viewpoints. On queue, all three officers criticize the administration and particularly Rumsfield. This is news how?

Hindsight is a great lens to shape opinions. I myself now fully agree that more troops were needed in the post war period to seal the borders and ruthlessly crush the insurgency. That is 100% hindsight. Most people fall into the same category but pretend it was obvious from the beginning. Bull.

I don’t exclude retired generals, even if they have a long and illustrious military career.

John R.S. Batiste, Major General, U.S. Army (Retired)
September 25, 2006
“Our great military lost a critical window of opportunity to secure Iraq because of inadequate troop levels and capability required to impose security, crush a budding insurgency, and set the conditions for the rule of law in Iraq.”

John R.S. Batiste, Major General, U.S. Army
June 28, 2004
"This war cannot be won militarily," said Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste, commander of the First Infantry Division, which oversees a swath of the northern Sunni triangle slightly larger than the state of West Virginia. "It really does need a political and economic solution."

I have no doubt that MG Batiste came by his current opinion quite honestly, leading troops on the ground. I respect that opinion, and it does in my mind add weight to the “Rummy screwed the pooch” arguments. But to present that opinion as if he always held it, that it was obvious to him from the beginning, is slightly less than forthright. Using it to score political points now is something else again. He would have gained much greater credibility with me if he had acknowledged in his testimony that he had once felt otherwise and only came to his current opinion via hindsight.


Alternate History follows:

Iranian diplomats file protest with the UN over citizens killed trying to cross into Iraq. “They were going to visit relatives. There is no need for the US to clamp down on the border this way.”


Human Rights Groups, UN, decry hundreds of Iraqis killed during massive countrywide military sweeps to crush budding insurgency. Kofi Annan: “There will always be some insurgency in a situation like this. This use of massively disproportionate force is uncalled for and may be a violation of international law.” Top Democrats and retired military officers call for Rumsfield’s resignation, stating he should have known that ruthlessly suppressing the budding insurgency with overwhelming force would only breed more insurgents. Anonymous military officers claim Rumsfield ignored advice to reduce the military footprint and focus on building infrastructure and quickly turning security over to Iraqi forces. One is quoted as saying, “It is obvious that with 400,000 troops swarming their country, sealing their borders, and violently suppressing any sign of revolt the situation will only deteriorate. 140,000 troops would have been adequate to maintain security and would not have alienated the Iraqi people so much.”


Iraqi Army units revolt in coordinated assaults against US units. 75 Americans and up to 1,000 Iraqi soldiers killed. Democrats call for hearings. Top Democrats and anonymous military sources claim that the Iraqi Army should have been immediately disbanded in the aftermath of the war. According to a top military source, “It is an obvious mistake to leave your enemy’s military units intact and armed in the aftermath of a war. This was bound to happen; there were officers and entire units who remained loyal to the old regime. Rumsfield should resign over this.” A top Democrat wants to know why there was no sweeping "de-Baathification" edict designed to purge Iraq of the oppressive political apparatus installed by Hussein.


US decides to postpone January elections due to “security concerns”. UN considers resolution condemning the US for not holding elections on schedule. Thousands of Iraqis protest, many injured or killed in violent demonstrations. This shop keeper claims, “We only want to be free to elect our own government as promised by the Americans. Instead they are overrunning our country and none are leaving as promised. I can’t walk down the street to my shop without passing through 3 checkpoints. There is no need for this heavy-handed approach and no need to postpone elections.”


Etc. etc.

Hindsight truly is a wonderful thing. Let's just figure out how to move forward. Save the back-biting for the polls.

"Let's figure out how to move forward" is a wonderful strategy once everyone agrees that things need to change, OCSteve. Since the largest chunk of people with actual decision-making power in this country seem to believe that the problem is people not giving the President and his subordinates everything they want, establishing that they are in fact part of the problem IS rather important.

Also, your speculation on what would've happened is an interesting Turtledove exercise in speculation. Insisting that other disastrous paths existed as WELL does not change the fact that our current leaders chose, executed, and stuck to one of those disastrous paths.

It's a bit like someone crashing into a parked car after driving with their eyes closed. Pointing at all the other things a bad driver could've collided with doesn't change the facts.

Rumsfield's style of handlinng of his reponsibilities is the equivalent of the Bush's leadership style. Every detail of how Rumsfield surpressed information, demanded absolute loyalty, acted based on his fantasies rather than thhe realities on the groung--that's exactly how Bush operates. And it is to the shame of the elected Republicans that nearly all of them, including McCain with his little fakey pretenses of moral stands, give the leaders what they want. It is understandable if you think of the administration as an authoritarian persnality cult. Understandable, but not forgiveable.

OCSteve, it might be more appropriate if you used two quotes that actually contradict each other. Those don't.

OCSteve, it might be more appropriate if you used two quotes that actually contradict each other. Those don't.

Thanks, John, I was about to say that. Care to try again, OC?

otto: I disagree completely about generals speaking out. Possibly this is because I was once in a situation that had some similarities -- though of course it wasn't even remotely comparable in terms of importance. My employer was doing bad stuff. Not illegal, just stupid and damaging and needlessly harmful. I had to choose: should I stay within the organization and try to help ameliorate the problems, while speaking out within the organization, or should I quit and speak out publicly?

It was by no means an easy choice. I stuck it out for about six months, during which time I felt that it would be wrong for me to criticize my employers publicly, at least unprompted. During that time -- and I don't think I'm just kidding myself here -- I was able to protect people who badly needed protection from the worst effects of what was going on, and also do some genuine positive good.

Eventually, I decided I couldn't stay, and so I quit. But it was not in the least an easy, black and white issue. And I faced it without having to deal with the military's tradition of not getting involved politically.

I have a lot less sympathy for others who should perfectly well have been speaking out, like, say, members of Congress.

Insisting that other disastrous paths existed as WELL does not change the fact that our current leaders chose, executed, and stuck to one of those disastrous paths.

Insisting that there was at least one truly utopian path had our leaders just been smart/experienced/nuanced enough to grasp it does not get us any further down the road either. My Turtledove outcomes for specific decisions, had they been made the opposite way, are no more speculation than assuming there was a better outcome possible.

Where we are in agreement is that they were slow to recognize it was not working and slow to change after that. Changes are being made, and my recent reading indicates that leadership on the ground has a fair amount of flexibility in adapting to local conditions. Move forward from here.

The hearing was political theatre, nothing more. The generals did offer some concrete suggestions for how to move forward, but in all three cases the focus was on “replacing the current leadership”. That is what all analysis I have seen focuses on.

Are the Dems who called this hearing on board with Batiste’s suggestion that “we must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge, which must include conveying the "what, why, and how long" to every American, rationing to finance the totality of what we are doing, and gearing up our industrial base in a serious manner.”? They didn’t say.

Do they agree with Eaton’s statements: “We need a "Manhattan Project" to resource the development of the ISF-- more and better equipment, triple the 4,000 advisor complement in Iraq” and “The war on terror demands we mobilize the country and significantly increase the size of our ground forces”? They don’t say.

How about Hammes’s statement that we need to “Put the U.S. Government on a wartime footing”?

When I see agreement coming from these Dems and the pundit class that they are seriously considering these concrete suggestions from these generals and not just the BushCo bashing I will believe this hearing had some purpose beyond political theatre and November.

Insisting that there was at least one truly utopian path had our leaders just been smart/experienced/nuanced enough to grasp it does not get us any further down the road either.

Was anyone insisting on that? How about, instead of utopian path, a path that had a chance of being relatively successful. Or are you artificially restricting the choices to disaster/utopia?

OCSteve, it might be more appropriate if you used two quotes that actually contradict each other. Those don't.

Thanks, John, I was about to say that. Care to try again, OC?

Not really. Those two quotes clearly represent a 180 degree change of opinion to me. You’ll have to explain to me how they do not.

“Our great military lost a critical window of opportunity to secure Iraq because of inadequate troop levels and capability required to impose security, crush a budding insurgency, and set the conditions for the rule of law in Iraq.”

Read in the context of the rest of his statement, it clearly indicates that he believes a (more) military solution was the answer. More troops at the start, problems due to equipment shortages, shifting troops, etc. More More More. In hindsight, I agree.

"This war cannot be won militarily," said Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste, commander of the First Infantry Division, which oversees a swath of the northern Sunni triangle slightly larger than the state of West Virginia. "It really does need a political and economic solution."

If you read the linked 2004 article, the context is the building insurgency. The military officials quoted, including Batiste, stress that the answer to the insurgency is building infrastructure and getting a civilian government on its feet, not more boots on the ground - not more military might. That seems to be pretty much the plan from the beginning.

I’m baffled that you see no shift in his opinion from 2004 to yesterday.

Do they agree with Eaton’s statements: “We need a "Manhattan Project" to resource the development of the ISF-- more and better equipment, triple the 4,000 advisor complement in Iraq” and “The war on terror demands we mobilize the country and significantly increase the size of our ground forces”? They don’t say.
IF you're going to fight a war, fight a war. That means being honest up front about what sacrifices are necessary, and putting the resources into it that are necessary. Too many seem to believe that "doing what's necessary" means torturing 'bad guys', rather than preparing and planning like adults.

IF you're going to fight a war, fight a war. That means being honest up front about what sacrifices are necessary, and putting the resources into it that are necessary.

Hear hear. No argument from me :)

I’m baffled that you see no shift in his opinion from 2004 to yesterday.
I'm similarly baffled that you DO. He discusses the lost opportunities to establish security in the early days, due to inadequite troops and nonexistant planning.
The military officials quoted, including Batiste, stress that the answer to the insurgency is building infrastructure and getting a civilian government on its feet, not more boots on the ground - not more military might.
No, the general in question said that the war cannot be won militarily. Your reading of the statements is odd enough that I suspect intentional deception. The general's statements indicate that establishing the civilian government and maintaining security while Iraqi society righted itself were the only viable solutions to the insurgency. That is different than 'winning militarily' against the insurgency, but it still requires more boots on the ground.

How difficult is that to grasp?

IF you're going to fight a war, fight a war. That means being honest up front about what sacrifices are necessary, and putting the resources into it that are necessary.
Hear hear. No argument from me :)
Well, good to know we see eye to eye on that. :) The problem, in my mind, is that the american public was 'sold' on the war under false pretenses. The potential risks of NOT going to war were inflated to the point of absurdity. The cost in dollars and lives of GOING to war was minimized, also to the point of absurdity. Remember the comments about troops being back home in a couple of months? Of the war taking a few weeks at most? I've got the list of names and dates for the quotes, if you'd like.

Now, it becomes obvious that those estimates were NOT simply honest mistakes, but the result of a deliberate supression of any conflicting opinions. To argue that the Democrats wouldn't have supported the commitment necessary to win in Iraq is beside the point: the vast majority of Americans wouldn't have.

We agree that if war must be waged, one must commit the full resources necessary. We also agree that one must be honest about these costs BEFORE the war begins. In this situation, both of those rules were violated by the Bush administration, over the objections of the experienced military leaders under their command.

Saying that Democrats would've blocked the war if he truth had been told is hardly an adequite rebuttal.

OT: Regarding the 2 pieces of legislation we've been concerned about:

I spoke to Murray's office this morning. Here's what they told me:

1. Murray never comments on bills she hasn't seen yet. The two bills - the warantless wiretapping and the detainee bill - are not yet in finished form.

2. I said, sarcastically, "Are they going to put out the finished version at 3:00 Friday afternoon?," Murray's officeperson said, "Something like that."

Stalling the publication of a finished bill, in order to evade debate and attempt a rush to vote on it, has been a standard GOP tactic.

I said, "So don't do it" - in other words, don't let yourself be steamrollered.

She didn't take that seriously.

Any chance of convicing our Congresspersons not to let themselves be steamrollered into voting on a bill that they'll hardly have a chance to read, much less debate, before voting on?

Rum's days are numbered, though we don't yet know the number. Clearly, however, just criticism cannot extend to the assumption that anyone else would have run things on a wiser basis.

How difficult is that to grasp?

At least somewhat – given that no one quoted in that article said they needed more troops to accomplish the stated goals.

2004:
“It really does need a political and economic solution." This equates to $ and diplomacy, not boots on the ground.

“in fact, the frequent use of force often spurs resistance by deepening ill will” More troops for less use of force?

2006:
“impose security, crush a budding insurgency” – More troops, right approach, I agree.

I re-read the article just to be sure – there is not a word or phrase in it to indicate the quoted military officials believed they needed more troops to complete the mission - dollars and diplomacy is what was called for.

Again – in hindsight I agree with their call for more troops. But it is hindsight – including on their part.

I agree with their concrete suggestions (those beyond replace the entire leadership) on how to move forward from here. Now I just need to see the Dem leadership endorse those suggestions, and I will believe the whole thing was more than political theatre.

Your reading of the statements is odd enough that I suspect intentional deception

Yeah – like I have a shot at deceiving the locals here. I would have had them all pulling the big R lever if you had not called me on it :)

I honestly think it’s pretty clear. I suggest that you have to at least allow for an honest difference in interpretation.

Solid thread.

Just wanted to point out that Ugh's Rumsfeldspeak way up thread makes me secure in the knowledge that I could melt my keyboard down to make little lawn ornaments, have one last sizable guffaw and stay in bed the rest of the week.

In hindsight, Napoleon shouldn't have invaded Russia in the wintertime.

I wish the historians would stop bringing it up.

I tentatively agree with many of the points you are making. I don't know if the committee is issuing reports, but I wouldn't expect them to issue one right away without deliberation. I also wouldn't necessarily expect them to adopt all of the advisors suggestions, just because "advising" is not the same as "deciding". Just ask the Decider.

However, I find it really odd that you support all of the recommendations except "hold people accountable". It just doesn't make sense to me and it certainly strikes against some core tenets conservatives have claimed as bedrock for many years.

I tentatively agree with many of the points you are making. I don't know if the committee is issuing reports, but I wouldn't expect them to issue one right away without deliberation. I also wouldn't necessarily expect them to adopt all of the advisors suggestions, just because "advising" is not the same as "deciding". Just ask the Decider.

However, I find it really odd that you support all of the recommendations except "hold people accountable". It just doesn't make sense to me and it certainly strikes against some core tenets conservatives have claimed as bedrock for many years.

Sorry about the double post. Stupid lag.

It just doesn't make sense to me and it certainly strikes against some core tenets conservatives have claimed as bedrock for many years.

"core tenets" is a pre-9/11 concept.

OC Steve -- I, too, doubt that the Dems want to implement the Generals' suggestions. As to whether it is hindsight or not, consider that Shinseki got fired for his foresight and Rumsfeld made it clear that no one was going to get more troops. Under these constraints the solution to the problem has to be a political solution.

As for whether or not boots on the ground works, have you read Hammes' book? It's not just about additional troops, but also about a military strategy that flies in the face of Rumsfeld's theories. Hence their comments that Rumsfeld is thinking in terms of a Warsaw Pact foe rather than an insurgency.

So maybe the Dems won't do any of these things. So what? The guys you keep backing won't do any of these things either, but they will pretend to do them and you will continue to defend them while they destroy the US military and lose a war.

Tell you what. You convince whichever of the 5 Republicans represent you in the house to start pressuring the administration to stop pretending and actually do what it takes to stabilize Iraq and I will start trying to convince our senators to do the same. But until your side actually sacks up and does the right thing, I'm going to be working to minimize the damage that your half-measures are doing.

You've got the majority. Do something.

Shinseki got fired for his foresight

Speaking of historical revisionism...this is totally false. GEN Shinseki was not offered a second four-year tour as CSA, and it's fair to suggest that was due to his speaking up before Congress. But this is not the same thing as being fired. GEN Shinseki served all four years of his term as CSA.

Fair enough. Rumsfelds other comments on this are a matter of public record.

Please amend my statement to read "Shinseki was passed over and Rumsfeld is widely reported to have threatened to fire anyone who insisted on supporting Shinseki's policy position on Iraq."

"core tenets" is a pre-9/11 concept.
"Core Tenets" retired and were given a Medal of Freedom some time back.

To be honest, too, in the private sector "being passed over" and maybe, "spending more time with one's family", is referred to, in hushed tones at cocktail parties, as being "fired".

In the Mafia, "I was given an offer I couldn't refuse" is referred to by guys in the witness protection program, coyly, as "let's just say I was fired."

However, I find it really odd that you support all of the recommendations except "hold people accountable". It just doesn't make sense to me and it certainly strikes against some core tenets conservatives have claimed as bedrock for many years.

I’m going to assume you were addressing me by context – apologies if I am off the mark. Reading back, I can see where I was not clear on “hold people accountable”.

I said more than once though not clearly enough – do that at the polls. So from that aspect, the Dems may get some mileage out of this hearing. My perspective is that the hearings intent was strictly to focus attention on what went wrong. The generals have (IMO) some valid and important recommendations on how to move forward, but the bulk of their testimony is about fixing blame, and they all agree where that falls. I’m not going to count lines or words but if you average the 3, call it 90% blame fixing vs. 10% constructive suggestions on how to fix it given the current state.

Dems and pundits have naturally focused on the blame fixing aspects. Fair enough. It is an election year – go for it. Convince the voters that things are terrible, an imminent failure, and that the blame lies with this administration, and by association all Repubs. So vote them out. That is politics and I accept that. It is how the system works.

But that makes it political theatre. To some extent these generals are being used. They have good solid recommendations on how to move forward, but the Dems can’t touch those with a 10 foot pole. I am not going to question their honest (current) belief in what (in hindsight) the problems where, but I am positive that they strongly believe that their recommendations would make the situation better and allow us to succeed. The results of this hearing will be to cherry pick the good blame fixing stuff and completely ignore all recommendations beyond “replace the current leadership”.

“replace the current leadership” is not a serious suggestion. As long as the president wants him, realistically, Rummy stays. Sure, the Dems could win both the House and Senate and censure him (to which Bush would say Phlittt!) or try to impeach him. Congress has never in history impeached a Cabinet Secretary (correct me if I am wrong). Maybe this will be the first. Who knows. The bar is pretty high – malicious misuse of power. But short of drastic action which may alienate a large number of Americans and destroy any 08 Dem chances, it ain’t going to happen. On the other hand, maybe enough Repubs get nervous in the next 6 weeks to really put pressure on Bush to dump him. But I say replacing him Rummy a very slim chance.

With that said, the end result of this is that it possibly helps the Dems in November, but will not have any effect at all in improving our current situation in Iraq. From that perspective it is a farce.

Hindsight is a great lens to shape opinions. I myself now fully agree that more troops were needed in the post war period to seal the borders and ruthlessly crush the insurgency. That is 100% hindsight. Most people fall into the same category but pretend it was obvious from the beginning. Bull.

The hell are you talking about? Pretty much every damn lefty blog out there was saying we didn't have enough troops in the run-up to the war, assuming they cared enough to comment on the issue. [See, e.g. the reaction to the dismissal of Shinseki.] Many of them were simply insisting that we not go in at all and so didn't comment on the troops but those that did? Furthermore, there was a pretty big ruckus during the war proper (as you may recall from those interminable "Are we getting stuck on the road to Baghdad?!?!" reports in the news), and everyone on the left was certainly saying it within a week or two of Saddam's ouster -- remember the Iraqi museum debacle, followed quickly by the news about the oil ministry?

And fwiw: yes, it was obvious from the beginning that we would need more troops than Rumsfeld's paltry handful. That many people (including you, apparently) failed to see it made it no less obvious.

"With that said, the end result of this is that it possibly helps the Dems in November, but will not have any effect at all in improving our current situation in Iraq. From that perspective it is a farce."

Our opinions differ immensely. From my point of view, electing Democrats who are willing to at least presume there is such a thing as oversight duties rather than being rubber stamps for a President who has been proven incorrect about nearly every statement he made before the war started about the reasons for and expected course of the war would improve the current situation. Re-electing a Republican Congress would be the farce.

Nous:

Fair comments all.

You've got the majority. Do something

Err, that would be the most feckless useless majority in the history of US government.

I have lobbied my congress critters. Every time they start screwing with an appropriations bill that screws with the troops or show a lack of spine in seeing this through. I’ve encouraged them to increase troop levels in the standing Army, whether they deploy to Iraq or not. I’ve been quite annoying on the topics of properly equipping our troops when they go – and providing them with the best medical care when they return wounded.

Rove stopped taking my calls though.

The guys you keep backing won't do any of these things either, but they will pretend to do them and you will continue to defend them while they destroy the US military and lose a war.

I’m not sure who you think I’m defending – I suppose it can’t help but come across that way. I once thought Rummy was doing pretty well. I generally agreed with his desire to change the way the military deploys and fights. I no longer have any desire that he retain his position. That happened gradually, and generals like these speaking out had a lot to do with it – especially the ones who resigned in protest. So if you can actually get rid of him it’s no loss to me at this point. Although I would suggest Lieberman as an interesting replacement :)

I just don’t see it happening, whether I support him or not.

OCSteve- I think that's a fair answer as far as it goes. The one thing that the DPC Hearings have going for them is that they are a very public venue for putting pressure on the administration. Rove may not be taking your calls anymore, but I'm guessing he would take calls from your representatives. If the RPC were having oversight hearings that dared to question the administration's assumptions regarding troop levels, then maybe between the two the administration would have its hand forced. But the administration won't shift unless they have their feet to the fire and the majority party has been doing its best to present a united front and avoid any separate responsibility for oversight.

Maybe it's time that changed?

So maybe the Dems can force the RPC to take a useful position on this, and maybe the administration will listen to sense from its own side.

And if not, then both sides will have to make them listen somehow. It's their job.

Either way, it starts with the Republicans standing up to the Head Bully and his clique. Their lack of resolve emboldens him.

To be honest, too, in the private sector "being passed over" and maybe, "spending more time with one's family", is referred to, in hushed tones at cocktail parties, as being "fired".

That's wonderful, and I'm sure it's true. But the Army, as you may have heard, isn't quite like the private sector. GEN Shinseki ascended to one of the top jobs in the military (I'd personally prefer a combatant command, not that I'll ever make it past O5). The best he could have done is get another four-year appointment as CSA, then he would have had to retire. Early retirement? Maybe for him, but for the average soldier who gets out after 20 years, getting out after 30+ as GEN Shinseki did pretty well.

None of this is to suggest that GEN Shinseki didn't pay a price for his words, although I'm not sure that he did. Rumsfeld may well have wanted to put his own man in the job regardless, given his eventual choice for CSA.

GEN Shinseki was not offered a second four-year tour as CSA, and it's fair to suggest that was due to his speaking up before Congress.

I'm not sure this is even fair. Does the Chief of Staff of any service ever get a second four-year tour? Even Arleigh Burke only served 6 years. My understanding is that the up-or-out policy applies even at that level; if not appointed Chairman or some other joint position, the Chief of Staff is expected to retire to allow his juniors to be promoted.

OCSteve,

I see your point about "replace the leadership" being a futile call. However, I am increasingly of the opinion that without that crucial first step, there really isn't a way to fix the present situation. Therefore, my claim that that is the first step if we want to move forward isn't mere political theatre. This ought to extend to others as well. Some people honestly believe that affixing blame and then holding those people responsible MUST be the first step to fixing the situation, and I think it is unfair to automatically write off this suggestion as mere political theatre.

Also, I think the fact that statements like these have slowly changed your opinion of Rumsfield and his military beliefs suggest that hearings which produce more of these sorts of statements also serve a very real purpose in getting out the vote to replace them. I don't like the term "political theatre" to describe the process because it implies triviality (to my ears and possibly only to my ears, I guess).

OC Steve

IF you're going to fight a war, fight a war. That means being honest up front about what sacrifices are necessary, and putting the resources into it that are necessary.

Hear hear. No argument from me :)

Then there also can be no argument from you that the Bush administration has been dishonest for the last four years regarding the sacrafices necessary and have withheld the needed resources for a chance at success. This has resulted in an ongoing failure of a war, with no plan to reverse the failure. And also more dishonesty to pretend that bad things are not happening.

Frankly, how can you support such obvious failure and deceit?

The only choices are more Bush/Rumsfeld failure or vigorous dissent to force them to do something different (because they have made it clear to expect more mendacity and failure from them for the next two years). There is no imaginary third course to make things better.

I also note that you don't dispute the parade of ugly facts from these veterans. Therefore, argue from the truth of their observations, rather than using phony charges of partisanship to then just ignore it.

More troops does not mean more force, in fact it can mean precisely the oposite if utilised at the right time and place.

Remember that the instance the invasion is over you become occupiers and the very well planned invasion strategies immediately stop being effective and become strikes against you.

Nous:

So maybe the Dems can force the RPC to take a useful position on this, and maybe the administration will listen to sense from its own side.

Well said. That is the best justification for this hearing I’ve heard here. I touched on it here:

On the other hand, maybe enough Repubs get nervous in the next 6 weeks to really put pressure on Bush to dump him.


Socratic:
Some people honestly believe that affixing blame and then holding those people responsible MUST be the first step to fixing the situation, and I think it is unfair to automatically write off this suggestion as mere political theatre.

I understand your point. I call it theatre only because its purpose is obvious – it is not a hearing in any sense of the word. When you convene a hearing 6 weeks before an election and you only call in people who you know are going to espouse your viewpoint, and you do not invite anyone with an opposing viewpoint to speak – well that is not a hearing is it? A recital maybe? I understand the purpose – and as I said all is fair here. Nothing personal – just politics. But they should not try to sell it to me as a “hearing”.


Dmbeaster:
Dishonest, withheld the needed resources, no plan, more dishonesty, obvious failure and deceit…

Most of these words/phrases go to intent. That is where we differ more than anywhere else.

I also note that you don't dispute the parade of ugly facts from these veterans

I did in fact question that at least the one highlighted here may have felt differently in 2004. I still feel that much of what they had to say is hindsight. I don’t dispute that there are problems, that things could have been done differently (though I questioned the likely outcome of reversing some major decisions).

I just want to move on and get it right. If you have a slate of Dems that has a plan to do that let’s hear about them. I just haven’t heard about it yet. Fixing blame and/or cut-n-run won’t do it. Tossing out the current crop just to give someone else who has no better plan a chance doesn’t strike me as much of an improvement.

As I suggested repeatedly, I’ll fix blame at the polls. If you have viable alternatives (for me) I will give them serious consideration.

Long day – gotta run. For my part this has been one of the most reasonable exchanges I have had in a while. Thanks all for putting up with a token wingnut. I could use some backup though…

OCSteve: Most of these words/phrases go to intent. That is where we differ more than anywhere else.

I notice you didn't trouble yourself to quote Dmbeaster in full. What DM said, which you did not respond to (and evidently have no intention of responding to) was:

Then there also can be no argument from you that the Bush administration has been dishonest for the last four years regarding the sacrafices necessary and have withheld the needed resources for a chance at success. This has resulted in an ongoing failure of a war, with no plan to reverse the failure. And also more dishonesty to pretend that bad things are not happening.
If you're trying to argue that this is not so, then you need more than just "oh this is just 'intent'".

I notice you didn't trouble yourself to quote Dmbeaster in full. What DM said, which you did not respond to (and evidently have no intention of responding to)

This is what I get for hitting F5 one more time…. I guess I have to respond to “evidently have no intention of responding to” :)

The words/phrases I posted where mostly from the same paragraph. I don’t assume I am taking anyone out of context when I assume that readers read preceding comments. Maybe that was bad form? I guess I could have posted the entire paragraph and highlighted the parts I found objectionable. I’ll consider that next time. Honestly – no snark – tell me if that would have been more effective.

Language counts. Let’s do a pretend poll. My honest responses (to my made up questions). Y/N only, no Other or Explain.


Do you think that the president, Rummy, Powell, Rice, etc. lied to lead the country into an unnecessary war? No.

Do you think that the administration sold America on this war, possibly stretching facts in some cases to convince the country that war was necessary? Yes.


Do you believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT? No.

Do you believe that the president may have made a mistake in focusing on Iraq, possibly to the exclusion of Afghanistan? Yes.


Do you believe that this administration, after starting a war, intentionally withheld support and equipment from the soldiers they sent to fight it? No. Duh.

Do you believe that there were and still are problems in the supply chain? Yes.


Do you believe that this administration went into this war with no plan? No.

Do you believe that this administration did not react quickly enough to changes on the ground? Yes.


And so on….

Words count. I’ll agree with you that there are problems, but not that they are due to intent.

OCSteve: "Do you think that the president, Rummy, Powell, Rice, etc. lied to lead the country into an unnecessary war?" No.

So, are you saying you still don't think they told lies, or that you still don't think the war with Iraq was unnecessary?

Do you believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT? No.

Well, of course Iraq has something to do with a war on terrorism now. The question was, did invading Iraq have anything to do with battling terrorism in 2003. Answer: ?

Do you believe that the president may have made a mistake in focusing on Iraq, possibly to the exclusion of Afghanistan?

Possibly to the exclusion of Afghanistan? Oh, come off it.

Do you believe that this administration, after starting a war, intentionally withheld support and equipment from the soldiers they sent to fight it? No

Even though Rumsfeld admitted they did just that? You think he was lying? Or you think the troops were lying?

Do you believe that this administration went into this war with no plan? No.

Oh, really. Now you're just making stuff up. There was no plan. If you're trying to claim there was a plan, point to the evidence for it. Or do you just believe they must have had a plan, regardless of all the evidence there is that there was none?

I’ll agree with you that there are problems, but not that they are due to intent.

Presumably because you are determined to ignore all evidence of intent - even when it comes directly from the Defense Secretary.

Do you believe that this administration went into this war with no plan? No.

That's a nice way of calling General Batiste a liar.

OCSteve: now that I'm back, and you're gone, I'll take your poll.

Do you think that the president, Rummy, Powell, Rice, etc. lied to lead the country into an unnecessary war? I think so, at least as regards Cheney and Rumsfeld. About the President, I'm never sure what to chalk up to deceit and what to a failure to insist on being informed that I regard as reckless and irresponsible in one in his position. I'm not sure what the difference is between "lying" and "stretching facts" (in the next question). Certainly claims like: that they knew not just that Iraq had WMD, but where they were, had to have been lies.

Do you think that the administration sold America on this war, possibly stretching facts in some cases to convince the country that war was necessary? Yes. See above.

Do you believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT? No. It surely does now. On the other hand, I believe that Saddam Hussein had only marginal connections to al Qaeda beforehand, and would never have given them either WMD or training camps on Iraqi soil under his control. (That Ansar as Islam had camps in areas he didn't control is beside the point.) For this reason, I think that if we were interested only in the War on Terror, and not in e.g. the sufferings of the Iraqi people, it would have been a no-brainer to leave Saddam in place: he could control the only part of Iraq where al Qaeda could ever set up shop, namely the Sunni part, whereas if we invaded there was always a serious chance that we'd end up with the situation we have now, in which there is (imho) a pretty high likelihood of an al Qaeda presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

Once we invaded, of course, it became related to the WoT; but only because we made it so.

I also think that it is unlikely that there is anything we can do, at this point, to dislodge al Qaeda from Anbar in the near term (= less than 5 years, roughly.)

Do you believe that the president may have made a mistake in focusing on Iraq, possibly to the exclusion of Afghanistan? Yes. -- Me too. A huge mistake.

Do you believe that this administration, after starting a war, intentionally withheld support and equipment from the soldiers they sent to fight it? No. Duh. -- I don't think so either. On the other hand, I do think the following: that Rumsfeld's role in the planning and prosecution of the war ensured that the soldiers lacked support and equipment, and that a minimally adequate policy review process, in which Rumsfeld's plans were seriously vetted and hard questions were asked and dissenting voices were included, could have avoided an awful lot of this. (One simple question -- "what's your plan for the post-conflict phase?" -- would have done an awful lot. Especially if followed by: "what do you mean, you don't have one??"

Do you believe that there were and still are problems in the supply chain? Yes. -- Ditto. And as I understand it, these were partly created, and certainly exacerbated, by civilian micromanagement.

Do you believe that this administration went into this war with no plan? -- I think we went in with a plan to win the war, and pretty much no plan for the occupation. This is not, as I see it, a matter of controversy. And imho this fact alone should have gotten Rumsfeld fired as soon as it became clear to anyone above him.

Do you believe that this administration did not react quickly enough to changes on the ground? Yes. -- Ditto.

I'll take your quiz, OCSteve, as it might help indicate where we don't synch up, so we could, god willing, actually find some common ground

Do you think that the president, Rummy, Powell, Rice, etc. lied to lead the country into an unnecessary war?
Yes for me, though this conflates lying and unnecessary

Do you think that the administration sold America on this war, possibly stretching facts in some cases to convince the country that war was necessary? Yes.
me too

Do you believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT? No.
The behavior of negative particles in English makes this one tricky. Yes, I believe it didn't, but it does now.

Do you believe that the president may have made a mistake in focusing on Iraq, possibly to the exclusion of Afghanistan? Yes.
me too


Do you believe that this administration, after starting a war, intentionally withheld support and equipment from the soldiers they sent to fight it? No. Duh.
'intentionally', well, no, but the framework they were operating under made this happen

Do you believe that there were and still are problems in the supply chain? Yes.
me too, which is shocking if you think this war has gone on longer than WWII


Do you believe that this administration went into this war with no plan? No.
No, I think the plan was hopelessly inadequate and failed to take into account previous military planning as Batiste and others noted.

Do you believe that this administration did not react quickly enough to changes on the ground? Yes.
me too.

That's actually a substantial bit of agreement. How we move on from that is another question.

I don't think Shinseki expected a second appointment. However, announcing his replacement nearly a year in advance was quite unusual, a dilution of his authority widely viewed as punishment for his outspokenness.

Wikipedia also points out that no civilians attended his retirement ceremony, which was thought to be a snub by Batiste. I suppose that one could argue that this is therefore personal rather than professional, but to discount the power of gestures like this is to seriously misunderstand the way the game is played.

In re OCSteve’s quiz (BTW, I’ve enjoyed your comments, thanks):

In general these questions assume a certain end state that I’m not convinced that the neocon movers and shakers share. In other words, I think we may need to get outside of our own skins a bit on this one. We see this in the first question regarding “an unnecessary war.” I suspect that from the perspective of many neocons, captains of industry, and others in positions of power the war was VERY necessary (or, back in the Fall/Winter of 1990 I witnessed quite a few career Army officers champing at the bit to go to war, causes and end states be damned – we may like to believe the soldier’s line about how “no one abhors war more than me,” but for many this sentiment is simply meant for civilian consumption). Did they lie us into a necessary war?

In re the question about whether or not the admin. “intentionally withheld support and equipment,” I think the question misses the mark a bit. What is the cost of (e.g.) armoring all HMMWVs and providing all troops with body armor versus the cost in casualties for not providing such protection (funerals, medical care, morale, VA benefits, training replacements, and a myriad of other factors)? Or let’s try this: it was intentional because the cost of the former outweighed the cost of the latter . . . ? The lives of soldiers have always been accorded a degree of expendability. Do we imagine that this appreciation, this value judgment does not apply to US soldiers, that we will spare no expense to provide the best safeguards at our disposal for every single soldier? I see very little evidence for this assumption in military planning outside of the movies.

I suspect that the issue is not so much having a plan or not as it is about what sort of military theory and application were at work. The spirits of Douhet, Trenchard, and LeMay still walk the halls of the Pentagon, if GWI and II are any indication. What’s behind Armitage’s recent comment on bombing Pakistan back to the stone age? From such a perspective, this supposed effect of air power (i.e. brining about a stone age) qualifies as a legitimate post war plan.

Fun for the whole family!

Do you think that the president, Rummy, Powell, Rice, etc. lied to lead the country into an unnecessary war?

Yes.

Do you think that the administration sold America on this war, possibly stretching facts in some cases to convince the country that war was necessary?

Yes. And they've admitted as much.

Do you believe that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT?

I call shenanigans on the verb tense there. I believe that Iraq had nothing to do with the WOT -- assuming that the latter was even well-defined, which I also dispute -- during the run-up to the invasion. Since then, colossal mismanagement ruined the situation to the point that the answer to whether Iraq presently has nothing to with the WOT is No.

Do you believe that the president may have made a mistake in focusing on Iraq, possibly to the exclusion of Afghanistan?

"Possibly to the exclusion"? They've all but admitted that one point-blank. And the answer is, of course, Yes.

Do you believe that this administration, after starting a war, intentionally withheld support and equipment from the soldiers they sent to fight it?

No.

Let me return the question to you, though: do you believe they were criminally negligent in their failure to provide adequate support (including training) and materiel to the soldiers they sent to fight?

Do you believe that there were and still are problems in the supply chain?

Yes.

Do you believe that this administration went into this war with no plan?

If by "plan" you require that it have a realistic chance of achieving its goal -- as in, no "I'm going to seduce Jessica Simpson by sitting in my apartment all day eating Cheetos! I have a plan!" BS -- then Yes, they demonstrably had no plan. This has been confirmed innumerable times; I'm not even sure why it's open to question.

Do you believe that this administration did not react quickly enough to changes on the ground?

Yes, although the question implies that there was a particular strategy that wasn't adapted to meet changing circumstances, whereas my claim is that there really wasn't any strategy there to begin with. As, I note again, we've had confirmed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad