Thursday, October 30, 2003
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Wesley Clark, whipping boy of the blogosphere
David Adesnik and Josh Marshall go after Clark with a vengeance today.
Meanwhile, Josh Marshall, who was at the speech where Clark made his accusations, has a different beef with the candidate:
UPDATE: Marshall has more on Clark.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Kleiman thinks Adesnik's off base:
posted by Dan on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM
I think Adesnik is making a big deal about a pretty basic line of criticism, and one that I am surprised we don't hear more often.
It sounds to me that what Clark was saying is that 9/11 happenend on Bush's watch. Regardless of where in the government were the missed leads and the miscommunications, the fact remains that these occured in a government run, ultimately, by Bush. Now this is not to blame Bush for 9/11 in the way that some might (i.e. he willfully missed cues or knew of the attack), but it is just to throw some bad light on his management and his "team".
I would normally ignore this kind of criticism has partisan attacks that have no real merit, but they do pique some interest when the 9/11 commission is having trouble getting files and information from the White House.
This is what gets me, and it is I think the reason for the attack by Clark linking Bush to 9/11. How is it possible that the Administration can't be doing everything possible to help us figure out how this happenend, where were the missed hints, and thus giving us the greatest ability to stop something like this from ever happening again? There might be nothing in the White House of any value to the 9/11 commission, but it seems like there is very limited downside for Bush to just letting the people serving on that commission figure it out for themselves.
As for Marshall's critique of the Clark Campaign, I just hope that the General is able to get things moving again. It would be unfortunate if the opposition to Bush was less a person to represent the rest of the country, and more someone selected just because a voice of many people could not get organized.posted by: Rich on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
It's not just the blogosphere. Will Saletan at Slate pummeled Clark for his stand on Iraqi reconstruction.
And Adam Nagourney was lukewarm in the Times today:
Wesley K. Clark has a history of dalliances with the Republican Party. Caught up in conflicting statements on issues, he has endured what even his supporters describe as a rough first few weeks as a Democratic presidential candidate. Indeed, his stands on many issues are mysteries even to the Democrats who rushed to Little Rock, Ark., his hometown, to sign on with his campaign.
..."Wherever you go, far from Washington, Democrats share one thing in common: We've got to get George Bush out of the White House," said Eli Segal, General Clark's campaign chairman. "I've never seen this kind of passion before."
"The general is going to have to stand for things — not going to have to stand for things, does stand for things," Mr. Segal continued. "But part of his appeal is that Democrats are far less concerned on where Democrats stand on specific issues."
posted by: Tom Maguire on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Wesley Clark seems like a pathetic opportunist who will say anything to further build up his resume. Talk about putting one’s wet finger in the air! I viscerally do not like, nor trust, the man. The American people are starting to see through him. The angry Howard Dean remains comfortably in the lead. Clark will probably have to drop out before the end of the year.posted by: David Thomson on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
What Clark actually said:
"It goes back to what our great president Harry Truman said with the sign on his desk: `The buck stops here.' And it sure is clear to me that when it comes to our nation's national security, the buck rests with the commander in chief, right on George W. Bush's desk."
I don't have a problem with that. George Bush, who can't even accept responsibility for the banners at his own PR events, obviously does.posted by: uh_clem on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Does anyone have the faintest clue on what Clark would do on Iraq? For that matter, beyond does any Democrat beyond daft Dennis Kucinich have an understandable Iraq policy?
Look -- Bush has blundered and likely lied during our long stumbling trip through Iraq. I'd love to hear a cogent alternative to current policies. But all I get is "listen more to the UN" (as they get the $%^ out as fast as they can), rely more on the UN, and "whatever you do, don't spend any money cleaning up the mess, until you get a plan."
Right now, I'm probably voting for Bush...posted by: appalled moderate on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Does anyone have the faintest clue on what Clark would do on Iraq?
Well, he wouldn't have gotten us into this mess in the first place. Maybe that's 20/20 hindsight, but I'd feel better with someone in charge who at least doesn't have a track record of steering the country into a situation where there aren't any good options.
And there's the problem - we're in a situation where there are no good options: stay, and it's a long hard slog with no end in sight, cut our losses, and we abandon Iraq to Civil war and likely a fundamentalist Islamic state.
There's probably a middle ground somewhere in between, but that will take a series of hard choices to navigate successfully. Unfortunately, my confidence in the current administration's ability to do that is zero.
I'd like to think that Clark would choose the least-poor set of actions, but I don't know that he will or which ones they are for that matter.
posted by: uh-clem on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Dear Appalled Moderate,
As a classic-conservative and not a neo-con, here is my summary Iraq policy. First and foremost, we need counter-insurgency troops. We need to saturate Baghdad with sniper teams using 50 cal rifles that can kill a man a mile away. We need special ops guys that slither down ropes from Helicopters, and we need to organize them in Fast Reaction Teams that are in the air and whenever a convoy is hit then BAAM we drop the hammer on the attackers. We need the exact same kind of radar-tracking return fire that we had in the main assault phase, so whenever the Iraqis shoot mortars at us we track the fire and return it ... BAAM ... they're dead.
We need to do a bootcamp and fast-track OCS school to put at least 1000 Arabic speaking officers trained in civil affairs on the ground in 3 months. Preferably two or three thousand if we can get them. We need to expand military recruitment to prepare for the rotation schedule to maintain at least 150,000 soldiers in country for at least two more years. We need to improve supply line safety by consolidating bases and establishing 24/7 secured "lines of communication". We need to get Arabic speaking plains-clothes intel agents on the ground, dedicated solely to rooting out with bribes and networking all Resistance forces and foreign militants. And we need another thousand or so of them ASAP. We need Iraqi forces to do checkpoints or we comepletely abandon them. US forces manning checkpoints except at secure facilities only breeds resentment and makes them targets. We need to abandon and then demolish the Green Zone to prevent it from being used as a symbol, and then move all CPA operations to a more secure location right outside of Baghdad. We need to assign long in-country rotations - recruited with heavy bonuses if necessary - military civil affairs officers (speaking Arabic of course) that will stay as troops are rotated in and out and assigned to the rural areas and towns all around Iraq at the provincial level. We need PRT teams and a big expansion of them like how the model teams in Afghanistan worked.
And that's just on the military side. On the civilian side there is allot we can do - rescind the foreign privatization order and instead create a micro-lending capital investment fund tha will make small business loans to Iraqis in order to start businesses and make money. We need to get allot of solar and wind turbine power stations as well as hydrogen fuel cells and distribute them to critical facilities like oil refineries and water purification plants so that they can operate 24/7 without interruption. We need to decentralize the power grid and ...
Well you get the idea. There is *allot* that can be done better, and most of it will require some cost but it will be allot cheaper than not doing it.
I think Ramesh Ponuru at NRO is right: assuming that Clark can't pull out of his tailspin, the biggest losers are Democrats who wanted an alternative to Dean and who wasted precious months with Clark choking off the other candidates' ability to generate momentum.posted by: Crank on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Given the amount of statements, restatements, Clark has given us, he might very well have gotten us into this mess in the first place. With him, we can't even guess the past, let alone judge the future. Hey, if he ran in 2000, he might have ended up running as part of the GOP.
What's really griping me about the dems right now is that -- since they didn't really want the war -- they don't figure that they have to support any measures for cleaning up after it. That kind of spite is OK, if you are France and Germany, and your country isn't responsible for the mess. It's a downright immoral approach for the USA.
You'd think it would be good politics to say "Bush fowled it up, but the United States honors its commitments. We will rebuild what we destroyed, and we will never do this again." But nope. It's more fun to complain about Haliburton, and demand that we get repaid for fixing what we messed up. Jeez, people, how about some moral seriousness?
Sounds like you should be advising somebody in this race. (Maybe Dean, who acts less left than he talks.) How do we do what you suggest without a draft (which will not happen...)?posted by: appalled moderate on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
How about: put the reconstruction money (a/k/a Halliburton Profit Guarantee Fund) under multilateral control, with an eye towards more Iraqi projects? Betcha we would get more donors. (Recall, most of the money we just raised came in the form of loans, which we correctly realized aren't much real help).
Then, for good measure, be willing to relinquish command of the military part, too.
Oldman has some good ideas on the tactical front, but I think Kerry, Edwards, Clark, and Dean all have some plan like the one above. We could also try apologizing to our allies for insinuating they were cowards and fools for not believing our false "intelligence" on WMDs launched with 45 minutes' notice.posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Looks like the hiring of Chris Lehane has borne its typical fruit. Talk about poison. Makes you wonder if he's on the RNC payroll.
Sort of reminds me of coaching jobs in pro sports. Apparently the skills and experience required are so obscure or the social environment so close-knit that the same perennial losers get hired again and again.posted by: sidereal on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Multilateral solutions always sound wonderful, but the transparency in UN/EU orgasnizations always seems a little elusive. Plus, the recent performance of the UN and NGOs in Iraq seems...well, let's be nice and say excessively prudent.
I believe the administration should take some pounding when somebody's crony gets a plum. That's the democratic system at work. When the "international community" gets involved, and issues contracts, who knows if cronies are getting plums? Who knows how the money is being spent? Who is going to lose their job if the money is spent unwisely? I prefer having the US in charge as a voter, because I know who to find accountable if things go wrong...and I know what to do to try to change things.
Relinquishing military control? If US troops remain in Iraq, they will remain targets. That's true, no matter what color helmet they wear. The only to escape being a target is to withdraw, which is not something we can do until Iraq has a functioning government of its choice. The idea that other countries will supply troops is to indulge in wishful thinking.
posted by: appalled moderate on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
I was at the conference and can confirm that Clark really did blame the President for 9/11, specifically saying he could not pass the blame off to anyone else further down the chain of command.
Appalled, our allies put troops on the ground in Kosovo and in Afghanistan, in the line of fire. And they're running the aid business there, too. (Do you think it's mere accident that the Afghan reconstruction team blogged here is run by Brits?) You're selling them short. Other countries' significant presence will diffuse opposition by spreading out the number of terrorists' enemies. In other words, we get a little safer as our allies share the peril. We didn't want to share, and now we're reduced to Bush's "Don't applaud, just send money." Slate had a great anti-unilateralist piece on this, pre-war.
If you want to use your rights as a US voter to scrutinize the performance, great! Just be prepared for your right-wing friends to decide that the performance isn't what matters, rather rallying behind the Flight-Suit-in-Chief.posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Bush fowled it up, but the United States honors its commitments. We will rebuild what we destroyed, and we will never do this again
I don't know that there is any other responsible course of action.
Unfortunately, there seems to be little correlation between responsible and popular.posted by: uh_clem on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
I think you're mischaracterizing Josh's post. Read his update for clarification.
Furthermore, I think it's fair to blame Bush for 9/11. Richard Clarke had been begging for someone to do something about terrorism, but Cheney and Rumsfeld were too busy working on military transformation and an insane missile defense system to notice. Bush was vacationing on his ranch in August when he should have been paying attention.posted by: praktike on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Internationalization of troops sounds great in theory. Who's really going to contribute the troops? What nation is dying to help us out in Iraq? If we still have the bulk of the troops, but are restricted by another agencies concept of the rules of engagement, how have we really helped ourselves?
And more to the point,assume the UN takes "command", and then there is a major incident killing us troops. How fast do you think those troops would be coming home? It might take as long as a month.
As for reconstruction -- lt's just say the aid officers in Kosovo and Afghaistan have been willing to stay in the country, instead of running from it. The record of the international community in Iraq has been to do a Beruit. Which does not bode well for their future.posted by: appalled moderate on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
More to the point, what nations are even capable of donating a significant amount of troops? France wont, under any circumstance that is clear. Germany and Canada cant, they are tied up in Afghanistan with what little they could provide. Pakistan and Turkey have political problems. India the same. Tell me what nations Bush is alienating that anyone else can get to send troops? Any names?posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Dear Appalled Moderate,
Under normal circumstances, I would never consider it - but if a Democratic candidate offered me a position as an adviser I would accept on that off possibility it actually happened (as I would also serve if asked by Bush). At this point, even France has come out and said that the world cannot afford to allow the United States to be driven out of Iraq. DeVillipen is correct. It would literally set back civilization.
As for allies, let's not forget the South Koreans, Taiwanese, Indonesians, Italians, Spainards, Portugese, and Russian (as well as Japanese civil works guys)- why not we already got Polish and Ukranian troops there. As for discounting them, if the Bush admin as ready to count the Solomon islands in with the "coalition of the willing" we should seriously look at these other alternatives. Boots per square inch count. It's not all that counts, but it counts. Shinsheki knew this.
As for chain of command, an acceptable alternative has already been proposed. A multilateral framework with an American supreme allied commander. As for awarding contracts why not set up an open bidding system, with international reconstruction types, the CPA, and Iraqis each having a roughly equal say and a final CPA veto. American companies can compete just like everyone else. Or is anyone here willing to say that American companies can't compete in a fair contest?
We don't have to apologize or retract currently assigned contracts. Let's just say that the USA needed to get stuff started quickly, so we didn't have time to open up bids. Doing microlending and bidding out contracts fairly and to local Iraqis would win us much goodwill at little cost. Allot of the specialized work anyway can only be done by hi-tech companies like American ones so we need have no fear we'll be cut out.
Iraq is too important to the National Security of the United States of America to be allowed to fail. It didn't have to be that way. Things could have gone better before now. But the important thing is that they are handled better from now on. However, reality is that it is highly unlikely that me or anyone else who knows what they're doing will be allowed anywhere near the process. Certainly, one of my first acts would to be offer Daniel here a position. That is not flattery. He's got a good head, and we need more of those in charge desperately.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
I forgot to answer your question about greater mobilization. Ruling out the draft, there are several alternatives. Rumsfeld's idea of converting military bueracrats into foot soldiers is a non-starter. There will always be some positions too sensitive for commercial contractors and too dangerous overseas.
Essentially Congress has to raise the ceiling on the size of the military. No one has ever found a way to squeeze a better logistics to combat personnel ratio. It may be possible. Let's not try in the middle of military action.
What Rumsfeld did have right is that there are allot of hi-tech military equipment programs that can be cut. I favor the hi-tech bombers - they've proven their worth. The stealth joint force fighter / Raptor program can be safely junked however. There is no longer a dogfighter race with Russia, we own the skies. Osprey can join Crusader, and we can cut back missile defense to a robust research component instead of building an inoperational weapon.
We then turn that money around and put it into recruiting, hiring, pay, equipping, training, etc. men and women. We could also save if we split the men and women's training command into separate units and then allow them to serve together- something recommended by the original civilian comittee. Frankly, the sex aspect is a distraction in basic training.
As Hackworth has pointed out, we need to get back to basics in basic training - orienteering using GPS and environment, pushups and obstacle courses, shooting at larger rangers, small unit tactics, strategic coordination, and deploying in hostile zones from troop carriers.
Plus simply bottom line, more troops with appropriate speciality training after basic training. That takes money. We can get it by culling boondoogle programs out of the military. If the branches are pissed off, we can tell them the money they cut will go back into military personnel in their own branches. So it'll be a reallocation instead of a redistribution.
The greatest military asset is the prepared mind, the iron will, and the discipline of training. Let's reinvest in the American soldier.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
PS twice Appalled,
Oops forgot one last factor. We got the guys we need to go in now and do everything I said. The reason why we're holding back is that if we committed them we wouldn't have anyone to replace them in the rotation schedule. The key would be to commit the troops upfront and start the training and force recruitment and training programs so that when the current guys are ready to go home, we can replace them with the newly trained ones. The only thing that would a literal crash-course would the modified OCS Arabic interpreter program, because we need those guys there yesterday.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
A huge swath of the right has extrememly selective memory when it comes to the international terrorist conpiracy which predated the events of 9.11.2001
I have accumulated too much evidence to lay out here, but I'm still completely in the dark as to how it happened and what exactly transpired every step of the way. The stock put options, seismic record from Palisades NY, and suspicious nature of the Pentagon explosion (time, material evidence, passangers, witness accounts, etc.) are especially disturbing but there are far more contradictions, inconsistencies and suspicious "coincidences" that is easily ignored by corperate media. Don't forget that the Bush Administration is actively stonewalling the investigation into intelligence failures etc.
Disinformation and propaganda abound, truth is buried deep underneath in all forms of history and media.
But please do your research before forming your dogma.
All this being said, I don't know if Wesley Clark, though obviously more articulate than Bush, would be any better at resisting corrupting influences (of which there are many that can remain unnamed)posted by: 911Emergency on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
The Bush admin fetish with executive privledge and secrecy is creating at the very least the appearance of impropriety. And as Arnold noted, where there is smoke there usually is at least something smoldering. It's bad when the *Republican* head of the 911 committee has to threaten to use subpoena powers to get the Admin to stop dragging its feet. But that's Bush for you, promise one thing in public - to give the commission what it wants - and have your deputies do the opposite in private.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Appalled, I have nothing much to add to Oldman's list of countries, except I think he left out Canada. I don't see why those armies are more likely to bug out of Iraq than ours. It's not, to be blunt, as if we were any more fighting for our homes than they are (assuming you, like me, don't see any 9/11-punitive value in going after the wrong bad dudes).posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Well, 911Emergency - you've certainly found yourself in good company down here at the bottom of the thread. You should see the mock up we have of your apartment.
We were going to do a whole county on Mr. Lazarus, but it turns out he's (mostly) harmless.posted by: @ the agency on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
"George Bush, who can't even accept responsibility for the banners at his own PR events, obviously does."
He's saying Bush deserves responsibility for a massive attack that killed thousands. There were warnings about Oklahoma City too. Is Clinton responsible for that? "The buck stops here." Hey if I just say that I can blame any president for just about anything I want.posted by: HH on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
"Richard Clarke had been begging for someone to do something about terrorism, but Cheney and Rumsfeld were too busy working on military transformation and an insane missile defense system to notice."
As opposed to the Clinton admin., who were far more equipped just after the Cole bombing to do something about it, which Clarke begged them to do.posted by: HH on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Clarke was taken for granted by both Administrations. The frustration over the foreign policy wallow was part of my beef against Clinton. Failure to execute and follow through on the part of the Bush Administration has worsened the problem and raised the stakes. Not only are we not safer than before 911, we are less safe than *after* 911. There was nothing wrong with the general neo-con idea. Wolfowitz if nothing else seems a genuinely good person.
*However* the neo-cons were pathetically naive and taken in by confidence men among the exiles and tricked by their own eagerness to believe what they wanted to hear. Worse, they failed to listen to the voices of reason in their own cabal such as Bill Kristol who has criticized the conduct of the occupation. As for deluded men like Cheney, they are completely out of touch with reality.
Such gullible chumps have no business in running the most powerful nation in the world engaged in the what is currently its most harrowing military venture in decades. So says this classic-conservative. President Bush would be well inclined to listen to those voices of sanity within his own party - Warner, Lugar, Hagel, McCain, Graham, etc. who are giving him much better advice.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Oldman said: "As for allies, let's not forget the South Koreans, Taiwanese, Indonesians, Italians, Spainards, Portugese, and Russian (as well as Japanese civil works guys)- why not we already got Polish and Ukranian troops there. As for discounting them, if the Bush admin as ready to count the Solomon islands in with the "coalition of the willing" we should seriously look at these other alternatives. "
"The largest contingents come from Italy (3000), Poland (2400), Ukraine (1640), Spain (1300) and the Netherlands (1106). "
Here are a few more nations with 'boots on the ground':
Here is the problem, there are very very few nations left in the world that have the military budgets to project more than a few hundred soldiers for any length of time. Canada and Germany are barely able to support opperations in Afghanistan (Germany had to borrow jumbo jets from Ukraine just to stage there). Most nations are simply not capable of providing the kind of forces you are talking about. Japan's constitution disallows it. Taiwan wont risk both China's ire not to mention weakening herself. South Korea has provided troops and that has already caused rioting. Italy and Spain have provided troops. Indonesia I dont know about, but I suspect they would have internal trouble much like Pakistan has at the concept. Russia is too broke, its out of the question. Now if anyone (some democratic candidate) has a realistic plan on how to overcome these obsticals, lets hear em! Seriously, if anyone can provide real proposals it would be very positive. I dont think its really possible looking at the reality of the situation. Spain, to pick a name, simply cant pony up another 5000 troops just because they like President Clark, they cant do it. Lets hear some concrete proposals.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
And you Mr Beuhner are what comes from believing whacked up neo-con propaganda instead of looking at factual geopolitical history. We got a coalition together the first time around that was much bigger. Do you think that if the Germans can scrape up enough troops for an expansion of the NATO Afghan force that they can't pony up some soldiers for Iraq? Come on!
Let's get real. All your objections are beyond spurious - they're making a mountain out of a molehill. If there was international consensus, if there was the political will, if there was popular support the deployments would happen - overnight if necessary. All your hand-wringing is just so much like a girl saying she has to wash her hair so she can't go out with a feller.
All your B.S. arguments all come down to making excuses for an Administration that is whining because its own actions and lack of willingness to compromise have created international dissension, alienated foriegn populations, and placed even friendly governments such as Mr Azner's Spain or Blair in precarious positions having expended their political capital to get nothing back in return.
And that is the fact. If there was the will, people would find a way. All the bickering and excuses come down to the fact that they don't want to make hard choices for someone who hangs them out to dry and spits in their faces!posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
"We got a coalition together the first time around that was much bigger."
...after a direct act of aggression by Iraq against a sovereign country, with the threat of expanding that aggression against the world's largest reserves of crude oil.
At that, we were constrained by our "allies" to do nothing that would have actually accomplished real positive change in the region. France only came in kicking and screaming at the last possible minute, even with the fact of invasion and UN approval.posted by: Ernest Brown on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Why does it always have to come down to bashing France? Forget France ever existed for a second. It wouldn't have made a big difference anyway.
The reason why we didn't go further in '91 was a deliberate strategic choice. Love it or hate it, the fact about our allies not following us into Iraq had more to do with spinning the decision than driving it.
We simply didn't want to have to do nation-building, we didn't want the Kurd problem to explode, and we wanted a strategic counter-balance to Iran. Or did you think that allowing the Shiite rebellion to get crushed in southern Iraq was some sort of "accident". It just slipped underneath the radar screen in Washington.
If you believe that, I got a bridge I want to sell you.
If the United States of America had truly been interested and committed, and led the way - then the other countries would have followed in '91. Hell, if we'd played our cards right we could have done it in '03 here.
Blaming France is some sort of stupid syndrome where people think that "Oh yeah, the whole world was totally against us anyway ... *especially* those damned French whose obstructionism was a symbol of it all ... and so we couldn't have gotten anybody else anyway ... and so failing to do so wasn't a big mistake."
Which is what it all comes down to - making excuses for inexcusably stupid behavior. I don't care if you wanted to go to war or you were against the war, going about it the way we did was arrogant and completely unnecessary.
It was also a complete failure, which is why even the Admin has had to back off from the high-handed approach. Leadership is not being a bully. Other people failing to follow, isn't because they're all useless and sniveling.
Didn't have to happen this way, doesn't have to play out the way it is. Telling yourself that is just rationalization of stupidity. Making a mistake ain't unforgivable, refusing to take responsibility for it is.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Oldman, I see a lot of claims out of your. And no proposals. So how would you get these additional forces? Exactly.
PS, you cant use a time machine.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
I'm fully aware that Bush pere had no real intention of doing anything positive for Iraq in '91, that's my freaking -point.- Bush Daddy's allies in the House of Saud and the U.N. knew that he'd be a good little multilateralist enabler of mass-murder (see also Clinton/Rwanda) when it came right down to it, and they were correct. -That's- why we got the "support." My point with France wasn't especially to "bash" them, but to point out the historical fact that they opposed intervention right up to the last minute (and Mitterand even had a cabinet crises because of it) even WITH the extreme provocation of an invasion and threat to the world's oil supply and U.N. permission to use force. If we couldn't trust them -then,- under -those- circumstances, how in the name of Anderson Grimsworthy would they (having a UN veto, remember?) be any more reliable now?posted by: Ernest Brown on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
You made a bad mistake with that line. Maybe it'll work with no nothing Dem's who are all ideal and short on plan, but you're talking to a Republican from Republicans who's spent his whole live getting the job done, no matter what.
The first damn thing we do is we make the entire CPA and reconstruction process transparent with modern double-book accounting. We're Americans, and we ain't got nothing to be ashamed of. Second thing we do is that we create a trust, administrated by the US in guardianship for the Iraqi people but with an international review and monitoring audit board into which all funds go. Certain contracts which have to go out now, to either military guided reconstruction or Iraqi construction we get those out the door fast. But what we do is get the Army core of Civil Engineers to evaluate the projects to make sure the money is being spent right, and we get receipts for everything.
The next thing we do is that we set up a fair international and local Iraqi bidding process for other reconstruction contracts going forward with an expedited approval and review process. The next thing we do after that is that we push a specific debt forgiveness conference with international donors.
Then after we get the international community involved, and show them the money in dollar signs that they are being included, we go back to the UN and ask them to set up aid relief and Iraqi reconstruction offices out of Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia until it's safe enough to go back.
And then, after all of that we turn to France -*yes France* - and we say okay you have said that civilization cannot afford to allow the US to be driven out of Iraq. Now we want to know if you mean it. We would need at least a token force commitment of 5000 soldiers from them, or possibly the French Foreign Legion - *yes Legionnairres* and if we pitch it right they'll volunteer in droves. Then we go to the UN with a joint sponsored US and French (*yes France*) security council and general assembly resolution in order to draw up an Iraqi multilateral peace keeping force asking for donated troops from other countries. And yes we let them have the "safer" zones - the south and the north - which will allow us to concentrate our forces on stamping out the central zone fires of insurgency before they blaze out of control.
Furthermore, we've got to settle with North Korea - on favorable terms of course - but we have to get that stablized. That will get us South Korean troops - we can literally horsetrade. We agree to negotiate in good faith with North Korea which the South Koreans desperate want, and we get a quid pro in troops deployments.
Second we go to China and let them thank us for helping to defuse the North Korea situation and offer them a joint modernized project on NK. We also remind them that Middle-east stability is crucial to their economy, or else there are gonna be allot of pissed off Chinese. We then ask for a security guarentee for Taiwan, acknowledging the eventual peaceful reunification of Taiwan with China. We then take that guareentee to Taiwan and tell them, that they better well damn donate troops or else we might have to reconsider the strength of our support. They'll pony up fast.
Then we go back to Japan, and with their regional situation stabilized and the international cooperation becoming a fever they will pony up the civil affairs guys we want from them in sheer relief that honor will not force them to back a bunch of marking frothing mad ideologues in Washington.
After that, the hard part will be done and the rest will fall in line - especially since France will be on our side. Oh and the French will look good doing it. And flattering the vanity of France is a small price to pay for the future of Western Civilization. Once we have them and settle up NK, we'll have all the credibility we need.
But to work, it has to happen fast. We're running out of time, and have only months if not weeks left to make our moves. And yeah, Mr. Buehner it will work. And yes Mr. Buehner it is crazy. Crazy like a fox. It can happen.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
You miss the point. I didn't ever say anything about trusting France. If you're gonna make it in this world, you gotta keep your enemies close and your friends closer. There's a difference between cooperating with France and trusting France. France can be counted upon to do what it is within its own perceived self-interest. It is in our self-interest to see that they perceive their self-interest is to cooperate with us.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
"The first damn thing we do is we make the entire CPA and reconstruction process transparent with modern double-book accounting. "
So the first thing we do is remove the emergency funds from the US military commanders that are being lauded as doing the best work in rebuilding Iraq. Because those are the funds that the EU types have been whining about. What, no bureacracy? Que Vas!
"The next thing we do is that we set up a fair international and local Iraqi bidding process for other reconstruction contracts going forward with an expedited approval and review process. "
Local bidding process? How will this work? How many independent contractors are there in Iraq? How many construction companies? How many layers of additional bureacracies and delay do you wish to add? Say what you want about the evil Haliburton, but at least they are actually working, right this second.
"The next thing we do after that is that we push a specific debt forgiveness conference with international donors."
First you have to get people to show up. Kuwait, France and Russia have ruled it out they are the biggest debtors. What if you gave a conference and nobody came?
Ah good, yet another layer of bureacracy. Just what we need.
"We would need at least a token force commitment of 5000 soldiers from them, or possibly the French Foreign Legion - *yes Legionnairres* and if we pitch it right they'll volunteer in droves"
What on earth gives you that impression? What evidence can you provide that any amount of ass kissing/convincing/enticement will get French troops (which they cant afford to stage) to Iraq?
"We agree to negotiate in good faith with North Korea which the South Koreans desperate want, and we get a quid pro in troops deployments."
I have no idea what this means in nuts and bolts, but it sounds amazingly like playing ball with the lying NKs again. Oh, and there are already SK troops in Iraq, and there are already riots over it in SK. Again, wishful thinking is not policy.
"Second we go to China and let them thank us for helping to defuse the North Korea situation and offer them a joint modernized project on NK."
"We then ask for a security guarentee for Taiwan, acknowledging the eventual peaceful reunification of Taiwan with China. We then take that guareentee to Taiwan and tell them, that they better well damn donate troops or else we might have to reconsider the strength of our support. "
Ok, but what happens when the Chinese say that they arent about to give security guarentees to their rogue provinces, just as they always have? This is just plain silly and unrealistic in the extreme. China has zero to gain by this scenario that they dont already have, and if you know anything about China they dont do anything for kicks.
"They'll pony up fast."
Thank god we have resolved all the worlds silly little security problems so quickly and easilly! Maybe we can take this wonderful opportunity to unilaterally disarm our nuclear forces for a happy new world!
"And yeah, Mr. Buehner it will work. And yes Mr. Buehner it is crazy. Crazy like a fox. It can happen"
Oldman, I dont wish to be unduly cruel. But you are clueless about geopolitics. You swipe aside long standing and deeply complex problems as if with a magic wand.
posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
It's clear that you have a can't do attitude based on how things can't be done better, in order to justify why they aren't being done better. This is not only unAmerican, it's foolish.
1. First off, I already said that reconstruction in progress could have the equivalent of block grants, with only the US army core of civil engineers doing after-action reports. The Europeans would only have a monitoring and audit capacity, not a administrative one. More reports on what good is being done for the folks back home. This disposes of your first idiotic objection.
2. Iraq was a fairly modernized country with highly educated workers trained in English, businesses, etc. We would be foolish to try to import everything half a world away when we have so much to work with right there. It would also win points from the Iraqis by lowering unemployment. Your thinly disguised "white man's burden" sneer is rejected.
3. What we are asking for is a troop escalation from everyone involved, rather than the present tokenist forces. As for dealing with NK, I never said trust them. But we must settle it, even if it is only to delay the day of reckoning. Doing so in an inclusionist way that addresses SK concerns will do much to quiet the body politic there. Maybe it can't be solved peacefully long term, but we need to focus our efforts here and now on Iraq and deal with that later.
4. Chinese Security guarentees can be bargained quid pro quo with security guarentees with NK, coupled with hardball horsetrading in trade. No it won't solve the situation long run. Do we really believe them or they us? No. But we need to buy time.
5. The Taiwanese will believe us when we move more of our naval fleet into the East Pacific. Nothing too close as to arouse Chinese or North Korean fears, but enough to send a message and make it clear. We don't need naval troops in Iraq, but we do need land troops. With ships in the area, Taiwan will believe us.
6. Buehner, you're an idiot. The Japanese want to help, and are resigned to helping. If we gave them a chance to help in something they believed in, they would be actually enthusiastic about it.
And Buehner you are an idiot squared. Diplomacy and force always got to work together. Velvet glove. Iron fist. We can do what I have outlined above, all with capacities we already have. We are not trying to solve all the problems of the world today, just tidy them up long enough to tackle them head on one at a time. And that is possible and realistic. Part of the Administration disarray is not that any of these problems are unsolvable, but they are unwilling to prioritize and coordinate their efforts to break down the problems in a step by step fashion.
If they were to give someone like me the exact same strategy they are executing now, it would turn out better than how they are doing it. In the mind of the impious and foolish, their way is the only way no matter how badly it turns out. In the mind of the wise and virtuous, where there is a will they will find a way.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Sounds like you got a bad case of can't-doism. It's the mirror reflection of the case that the Dems got. It can be done. It would be done, if the will and smarts was applied.
That you don't believe that Buehner is the most devastating criticism anyone could make of you. Cause it's the opposite of what it means to be American.posted by: Oldman on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
Oldman, you are quite simply a jackass. Personally, I have a ton of ideas, realistic plausible ideas that would help the Iraq situation right now. And I happen to have a similiar attitude about people who believe things cant be done. But the difference is I dont accept that I, and my people who are on the same page cant accomplish almost anything. I am not naive and blind enough to believe I can somehow 'will' others, with completely different interests, into doing things that they quite clearly have zero intention or interst in doing. Politics are interests. Period. China isnt going to give Taiwan security guarantees. Period. NK isnt going to stop making nukes, and for all we know selling them because we sign some idiot peace of paper. That is a simple fact. France isnt going to send troops it cant afford to Iraq because we suddenly sent them a dozen roses. IT ISNT IN THERE INTEREST TO SEE AMERICA SUCCEED IN IRAQ. Interest is everything. Your like that idiot Carter, running over to North Korea so certain that once they hear how passionate you are about peace they will be so happy to jump on board. IT ISNT IN THEIR INTEREST.
There you have it, very concrete, very duable. Difficult, lots of inertia and red tape. Lots of people who say it cant be done. But doable. Now I could of course, take a clue from you and propose talking Syria into sealing its border, talking the Mullahs into stepping down and having elections, and talking Hussein into surrendering and taking responsibilities for his crimes. But those things arent going to happen. So I will dwell on those things that _we_ can do.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.30.03 at 11:41 AM [permalink]
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