Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

COBRA II....Andrew Sullivan tells us what he's reading at the moment:

On the plane back from England, I tuck into Cobra II. I'd put it off, thinking it would be important but tedious homework....In fact, it's a really riveting, readable narrative of the Iraq war....I haven't finished yet, but already the evidence is simply overwhelming that this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined almost single-handedly by one arrogant, overweening de facto saboteur. That man is Donald Rumsfeld. It's actually hard to fathom how one single man could have done so much irreparable damage to his country's cause and standing; and how no one was able to stop him. He makes McNamara look inspired.

Hmmm. Sounds like I should pick up a copy.

Kevin Drum 3:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (130)

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Comments

It should be perhaps pointed out to Andrew Sullivan that Donald Rumsfeld was picked by George W. Bush, who continues to support him and believes that he (Rumsfeld) is doing a heckuva job. So GW Bush bears some responsibility in addition to Rumsfeld for the Iraq debacle.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on April 25, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined almost single-handedly by one arrogant, overweening de facto saboteur

Must.... shift... blame...

Posted by: enozinho on April 25, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Worst SOD EVER!!!!!!!! His Boss is a loser too.

Posted by: Booo on April 25, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell could have been Sec. Def., and the result in Iraq would have been the same, because it was a bad war to fight in the first place. I fear all Sullivan is doing is setting up a lame excuse for those seeking to blame someone, anyone, for losing Iraq. The touch about McNamara is not welcome either, as at least McNamara resigned after it was clear how Vietnam was indeed a quagmire that the U.S. could not win.

Posted by: David W. on April 25, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

The W virus is crashing the current platform, World Order(western edition)3.3, user titled The American Century. Even though this bug gets more efficient by the week, it should take a few more years to go through and trash every file.

Posted by: brodix on April 25, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

The book is great, they pretty much take everbody's shit, military and civilian, and lay it in the street. Opening quote by Clausewitz says it all.

Posted by: T-Bone on April 25, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

"The W virus is crashing the current platform, World Order(western edition)3.3, user titled The American Century. Even though this bug gets more efficient by the week, it should take a few more years to go through and trash every file."

rofl!

Nicely put.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 25, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

...this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined...

This is the part that makes you realize the author is an idiot. The Iraq war was not ruined; it was a bad, bad idea from the beginning.

Posted by: Former Conservative on April 25, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

What is WITH your continuing fascination--I almost said "obsession"--with Andrew Sullivan, Kevin?

Leisure Guy: Indeed.

Posted by: shortstop on April 25, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

"...and how no one was able to stop him."

And who tried? George, Big Dick, Wolfowitless, Feith, Perle, Congress? Rumskull was not stopped because the Bush administration did not want him stopped.

Posted by: WCharles on April 25, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Kevin, sounds like a biased book from the liberal biased media that just wants to bash Bush. A better book is American Solder by Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command who presided over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As he pointed out in the book, "I do not regret my role in disarming Iraq and removing its Baathist regime." Unfortunately, liberals don't feel the same way and wish Saddam and his Baathist regime was back in power.

Posted by: Al on April 25, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Al,
The adults are talking, go back to the romper room and play quietly.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 25, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"And who tried? George, Big Dick, Wolfowitless, Feith, Perle, Congress? Rumskull was not stopped because the Bush administration did not want him stopped."

and even worse, 62 million people voted for more Rumsfield!

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on April 25, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Rather interesting perspective about McNamara I would like to share.

A while back, McNamara posited his mea culpa in which he confessed to many errors in his decision making process with the prosecution of the Vietnam war.
However, there was a vocal segment, especially amongst some friends who were mightily pissed off, and quite merciless in their denunciation of McNamara's conversion. I didn't understand their thinking then.

But now I think I've got a pretty good idea of how deep their revulsion was for their former boss.

I can say, that if and when Rumsfeld comes out with his mea culpa, I will be just as derogatory as my friends were to McNamara. There is no excuse for piss-poor decision making when lives are at stake.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 25, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

noble, important and necessary war

When Sully dies and he finds himself falling in the flames of hell, he will hear this line repeating endlessly.

Posted by: Dicksknee on April 25, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

gotta agree with former conservative. the war was a bad idea badly executed.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on April 25, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no, no, NO!

If there's one thing history teaches us it's that wars like these never succeed. This war should not have begun, and was destined to fail, because — and this is the important part — the only people who ever start stupid wars like these are the Rumsfelds of the world and the people who listen to them.

If any of them had a competent bone in their body, this war would not have happened.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on April 25, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I find that a lot of former suppporters of the war are among the most vehement Rumsfeld critics. To me, there's a subconscious effort at play to find a scapegoat, so the fault lies not with their decision to support the war, but rather Rumsfeld's handling of it.

Posted by: Chris on April 25, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan has found his scapegoat. Yes, the whole disaster is Rumsfeld's Don't worry about the faked intelligence leading up to the war, Cheney's interventions, and the President's blissful ignorance. It's all Rumsfeld's fault!

Please.... Does he really expect us to forgive his "5th Column" reference, his Bell Curve BS, his Gore bashing, etc. because he's found someone to blame?

I just don't get why Kevin thinks Sully's someone worth listening to. (Other than to see what cool excuse the neocons are coming up with now.)

Posted by: Samuel Knight on April 25, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

"noble" - I don't think that means what you think it means, Andy.

Posted by: Flamethrower on April 25, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post recently did a review on Cobra II.

In their "inside story" of the war, Michael R. Gordon and Gen. Bernard E. Trainor stand Rice's assertion on its head. They show that the U.S. military's tactical brilliance during the war's early stages came despite the strategic miscalculations of senior civilian and military leaders -- and that the Bush team's misjudgments made the current situation in Iraq far worse than it need have been. As it turns out, in addition to the war with Iraq's tyrant, there was an ongoing war between U.S. field commanders, their own senior commander (Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of Central Command) and civilian leaders in Washington.

The Bush administration's two major strategic miscalculations are by now familiar: first, a broad-based intelligence failure regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the viability of its economic infrastructure and the reception Iraqis would give invading U.S. forces; and second, underestimating the challenge of stabilizing post-invasion Iraq. Gordon and Trainor -- respectively a New York Times reporter and a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, and collectively the authors of a widely hailed 1995 book on Operation Desert Storm, The Generals' War -- go beyond these issues to focus on logical flaws in prewar planning that should have raised eyebrows among senior U.S. officials.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/06/AR2006040601664.html

The AI comment that we should rely on General Franks to provide an unbiased view of the war despite his obvious conflict of interest in judging himself is quite funny and reminds me of a Bushism.

"The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who's spending time investigating it."Washington D.C., July 18, 2005

Posted by: Catch22 on April 25, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't finished yet, but already the evidence is simply overwhelming that this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined almost single-handedly by one arrogant, overweening de facto saboteur

If we knew for certain that Iraq (and the world) would have been happier with 350,000 Americans "occupying" Iraq than 150,000; that sectarian violence would never have broken out as the 350,000 were drawn down to 150,000; that the disbanded Iraqi army would really do more good than bad (contraindicated by their performance in Fallujah); if the Sadrist uprising hadn't been defeated; if there hedn't been three successful elections in 2005 and politicking in 2006; if there wern't more cell phones, webloggers, satellite televisions, and newspapers than in Syria, Egypt and Iran combined -- then maybe.

That's a fair number of counterfactual assumptions whose implications are of doubtful value.

But you can believe what you want to: millions still believe that the American army could have liberated Berlin in 1944, except for Eisenhower's timidity and bungling. And millions were unhappy with Stanton as secretary of war.

Posted by: republicrat on April 25, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Not exactly a surprise to anyone who read _Not a Good Day to Die_, the story of the Tora Bora operation. Screwed up from start to finish by Mr. Rumsfeld.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 25, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

"They show that the U.S. military's tactical brilliance during the war's early stages"

Weren't these brilliant tactical maneuvers created, implemented, and orchestrated by Mr. Franks?

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on April 25, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

noble war?

as usual sullivan sucks.

Posted by: lib on April 25, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

sullivan sucks

Literally.

Posted by: Don P. on April 25, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK


tommy franks according to al: Unfortunately, liberals don't feel the same way and wish Saddam and his Baathist regime was back in power.


more americans have died in iraq...

since saddam was captured..

than in all his multiple decades in power...

go figure....

Posted by: thispsaceavailable on April 25, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think someone forgot to tell the neocons, including the British imports like Sullivan and Hitchens, that this is the 21st Century and that no way in hell can there be a successful colonial project in this day and age.

The British Empire died a long time ago. Moribund empires cannot be revived.

Posted by: nut on April 25, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

No, no no no NO!

You've got it all wrong.

History shows that wars like these ALWAYS fail!
But someday, we're going to have just the right nifty whiz-bang technologies - my buddies in the defense contracting biz tell me so. We'll have air supremecy, space dominance, 24x7 leveraged paradigms of orbital surveillance, mind control beams, computer guided terrorist-seeking missiles, and next time, we won't post the photos of the detainee interrogations on that darn intarweb thing, because we'll have these great big data-sucking machines sitting on all the telecoms' pipes sniffing out those traitorous leakers.

Sure, it will cost another 10 Trillion dollars, but our credit's good. And victory's worth it!

Posted by: Rummy on April 25, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

"this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war"

Kevin: the first step is admitting there's a problem, like if you're a falling-down drunk that you're an alcie, or if you're a liberal and you support a neocon war, that you've made a basic mistake in your thinking. Start by reading Overthrow.

And let's stop this "it's all Rummy's fault" assclownery.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 25, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Spin, little spin-bot, spin!

republicrat: If we knew for certain that Iraq (and the world) would have been happier with 350,000 Americans "occupying" Iraq than 150,000;

Yes, because no alternative scenario is of any value unless we know "for certain" that it would have been better.

that sectarian violence would never have broken out as the 350,000 were drawn down to 150,000;

Yeah, the anarchy following the collapse of the government would have lasted indefinitely, under the surface, until enough U.S. troops were withdrawn to let it pop up.

Or, possibly, a stable government could have been set up in a sufficiently secure Iraq and continued after troop withdrawal.

that the disbanded Iraqi army would really do more good than bad (contraindicated by their performance in Fallujah);

Different army; the one that did such a bang-up job in Fallujah is the one we put together.

And thrusting hundreds of thousands of armed men out of work and out of any sort of accountability was such a great idea!

if the Sadrist uprising hadn't been defeated;

If the Sadrist uprising hadn't happened;

if there hedn't been three successful elections in 2005 and politicking in 2006;

Thanks to the Iraqis, and against the initial wishes of the Bush administration;

if there wern't more cell phones, webloggers, satellite televisions, and newspapers than in Syria, Egypt and Iran combined -- then maybe.

Um, that's just a flat-out lie.
In the third quarter of 2005, Egypt had 12 million cellular phone subscribers. In February of 2006, Iraq had "more than 5 million".

I suspect your other numbers are just as bullshit.

That's a fair number of counterfactual assumptions whose implications are of doubtful value.

Well, your comments are certainly of doubtful value, that's for sure.

But you can believe what you want to: millions still believe that the American army could have liberated Berlin in 1944, except for Eisenhower's timidity and bungling. And millions were unhappy with Stanton as secretary of war.

And once again we see a spin-bot attempting to cast the unilateral invasion of Iraq in the same light as WWII.

Posted by: S Ra on April 25, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I accept the idea that Rumsfeld was such an "arrogant, overweening de facto saboteur" that he would have subverted the Iraq war effort all by himself.

But I also accept that as true of Bush. Or Cheney.

It's like the Iraq war was engineered with redundant modes of failure, so that if it might have, against design, succeeded one way, it was sure to fail another.

Posted by: frankly0 on April 25, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's all Rummy's fault! Damn him. A proper tactician would have had flowers in the street, peaceful elections, and flowing oil immediately after the successful conclusion of a well-staffed invasion. This is clearly what Cheney thought he had with his rosey predictions, and it's bad luck for them all they got such a buffoon instead.

What would it take to convince Sullivan--one of the few examples of a reasonable if deeply wrong conservative--that there are no counterfactual scenarios under which the invasion would have turned out they way they wished? Every mistake we uncover in pre-invasion intelligence or post-invasion administration will just be taken as evidence that if X had not been bungled, all could have gone well. Of course, the real answer is that anyone idiotic enough to have thought this war was a good idea in the first place is idiotic enough to also make hundreds of mistakes during and after the invasion...but that's a very difficult proposition to prove to the unwilling.

Posted by: Blamer on April 25, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraq War would have been a failure if it had been run by Gens. George C. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was fundamentally a failure in conception, and it is evidence of Sullivan's detachment from reality that he cannot see this.

Posted by: David in NY on April 25, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

The invasion and occupation was and is a crime -- a war of unprovoked aggression, based on sickening lies about a nonexistent threat, which has directly caused the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 25, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, this is great. Except for Al's little interlude, we all agree that Sullivan is delusional.

Posted by: David in NY on April 25, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK


I find it fascinating that sullivan defends the recent statements by retired generals re: Rumsfeld, whereas Kevin devoted a recent post to questioning their actions


"It's actually hard to fathom how one single man could have done so much irreparable damage to his country's cause and standing; and how no one was able to stop him. He makes McNamara look inspired. This is not to exonerate Bush and Cheney, who enabled and enable him. And it's not to argue that the military shouldn't always ultimately defer to civilian leadership. But when that leadership has been this incompetent, this bull-headed, this reckless and malevolent and petty, the generals have a patriotic duty to speak out. Until this man is removed, we can have no confidence in the conduct of the war; and no confidence in the president as commander-in-chief. It's really as simple as that."

Posted by: aidan on April 25, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Christ, what a pathetic display by Sullivan. The war which he enthusiastically did the splits for while cheerleading has turned out to be a fucking disaster, so now he's casting about for a scapegoat, any scapegoat, so he can claim that it wasn't his soft-headed and wild-eyed fantasies that were to blame, but simply the fuck-ups of one incompetent old man. Disgusting.

The whole lot of them should be shipped off to spend the rest of their sad, deluded lives living in a refugee camp outside Fallujah....

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Andrew Sullivan: "I, as always, blame the scapegoat."

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I picked up the book a few weeks ago. It is simply excellent. Very, very hard to put down. The recounts of certain battles early in the War are truly compelling and good reading. The first few chapters center around the planning, or lackthereof, and you just want to slam something down over the sheer incompetence displayed by Rumsfeld and Franks. You won't be disappointed in the book.

Posted by: Stephen on April 25, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

You will not read that book.

I'm the decider. I decide.

Posted by: George W Bush on April 25, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Read Cobra 2. One of the very best nonfiction books I've read in years. You want facts? This story is loaded with them, and it's a very interesting read.

Posted by: kimster on April 25, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

"noble, important and necessary war"

Yet another reminder that nothing Sullivan says should be paid the slightest bit of attention.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on April 25, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, in the first few pages of Franks' book he says something to the effect of "We have the best possible people in charge of Iraq". That would include Rumsfeld. Of course by the time Franks' book was published things were already starting to fall apart over there.

Posted by: jefff on April 25, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Some basic bits of illogic, or random non sequitors are on display (as almost always with Sully) on this one.

1) Just because Rumsfeld horribly screwed up his part of the war, doesn't mean that it might have worked, nor does it mean that others didn't blow it too.

Please construct a realistic scenario of how it would have worked out. Particularly after Turkey bailed.

2) The comparison of the brilliant tactics opening the war and the horrible strategic disaster is a fraud. They are part of the same package. The major decision to go as light as possible, as fast as possible, with as few troops as possible, allowed the US to win those "amazing" victories - at a horrible long term cost.

It meant that the didn't secure the areas captured, didn't put in place adequate controls, and didn't start governing and re-building. Second, all that "shock and awe" was incredibly destructive. To this day, the US has not rebuilt a lot that was destroyed.

So Sully's cute little juxtaposition shows profound military cluelessness. (Or willful ignorance of basic trade-offs one has to make.)

Posted by: Samuel Knight on April 25, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Al, anyone capable of being open-minded would find COBRA II to be distinctly non-partisan in the way it lays out the information and puts it in context. I'm 1/2 way through it now. It is an excellent read and one of the best books of its kind that I've read in quite some time.
Sullivan lost me with "noble" with that one but to be fair, he really has gone after Bush on this and many other things with pretty strong language and few people have lead the charge on the torture debacle with more vigor & anger than Sullivan. He isn't perfect, and he says a lot of things I disagree with but I don't think he's an idiot or crazy like hmmm, maybe the Powerline guy.

Posted by: Nathan on April 25, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

My position has been that the war was doomed to fail because just about everyone failed to do what is nessessary to keep a democracy from making a huge mistake. lets look at the sins that brought us this war:

Bush: Desire for a legacy (Pride)
The Democrats: Hoping to ride Bush's coattails (Envy)
Cheney: Global Dominance (Gluttony)
The Media: Explosions equal ratings (Lust)
Average Americans: Payback (Anger)
Rove: A permentanent majority (Greed)
Anti-war Americans: (Sloth)

Posted by: enozinho on April 25, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bet Rumsfeld had no idea *he* was going to end up sa Goldstein.

Posted by: Jim Henley on April 25, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sully fucking fucker fucks fuck! Brownshirt crybaby handwringer fuck!

Your all stupid! Neener!

Posted by: Atriot Drone on April 25, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Um, that's just a flat-out lie.
In the third quarter of 2005, Egypt had 12 million cellular phone subscribers. In February of 2006, Iraq had "more than 5 million".

Some more stats from www.cellular-news.com:

In terms of subscriber base size, at the end of 2005, Egypt had the largest cellular subscriber base in the MENA. The Egyptian mobile market experienced phenomenal growth during 2005. Cellular subscribers surpassed 14 million at the end of 2005 up from just 7.6 million the previous year and representing an 84% growth rate. Nevertheless, with a penetration rate of around 19%, Mr Francis believes there is still ample of room for growth.

Saudi Arabia is the second biggest mobile market in the MENA. This market has also experienced strong growth during the past three years. The number of mobile subscribers grew from 6.9 million in 2003 to nine million in 2004 and is estimated to have reached 13.4 million by the end of 2005. However, at the end of 2005, the mobile penetration rate will have reached 53% - a figure which is well below its other Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) counterparts.

In 2005 Jordan experienced the biggest jump in mobile penetration rate compared with all the other Middle East countries. The cellular penetration rate rose from 28% (1.6 million subscriptions) at the end of 2004, to 53% (3 million subscriptions) at the end of 2005.

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
Sullivan's essentially a true believer who keeps getting punched in the stomach until he acknowledges that something's wrong, but can't bring himself to admit that it's not just this one thing and that one thing, it's the whole damn thing.

Here

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on April 25, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Also in defense of McNamara, there are oval office recordings that document his lack of confidence in various aspects of the war plan. 'Fog of War' included an excerpt in which Johnson excoriated McNamara for urging caution after the Gulf of Tomkin incident.

More about this documentation here:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040126/exchange

Posted by: theperegrine on April 25, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

The collected works of Andrew Sullivan:

2003: This war is a great idea and there is no chance we will lose.
2004: This war is a great idea and we must be careful not to lose.
2005: This war is a great idea and we are not losing, but we need better leadership.
2006: This war is a great idea and we are losing it because of the SecDef.
2007: This war is a great idea and we are losing it because of the President.
2008: This war is a great idea and we are in dire danger of losing it completely.
2009: We lost the war. It was a good idea.
2010: The war was a very bad idea. Why did anyone support it?

Posted by: Alderaan on April 25, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Alderaan - you forgot two years:

2002 - This war is a great idea and anyone who opposes it hates their country and loves Osama.

2011 - Waaaaaaahhhh!!!!

Posted by: enozinho on April 25, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

2010: The war was a very bad idea. Why did anyone support it?

I would laugh, but it's too true to be funny.

Posted by: craigie on April 25, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat wrote:

if there wern't more cell phones, webloggers, satellite televisions, and newspapers than in Syria, Egypt and Iran combined -- then maybe.

I figured I would check out the CIA World Factbook on that:

Cell phones:

Egypt 14,045,134 (2005)
Iraq 574,000 (2004)

They've really added 14 million subscribers in just one year? Jeez I wish I had been invested in a cell phone provider in Iraq last year!!!

Internet Hosts:

Egypt 1,702 (2005)
Iraq 4 (2005)

Internet Users:

Egypt 5 million (2005)
Iraq 36,000 (2005)

Now, I'm not saying that with only four internet providers and only 36,000 users Iraq couldn't possibly have more webloggers than Egypt with over 100 times as many internet users (we'll forget about Iran and Syria for now), but I would be veeeerrrryyyy surprised if that were true.

Couldn't say about newspapers, but as far as satellite television goes, I was in Cairo last summer and from my fifteenth floor hotel room the tops of the buildings all over the city looked like mushroom farms with all the satellite dishes sprouting out of them.

What right wing rag did you get those stats from anyway?

Posted by: Majun on April 25, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Cobra II is a great book.

Don't say you know a damn thing about this war until you've read it.

If Rumsfeld was walking down the hall of the pentagon and pulled up short, Franks and Meyers would break their noses....tripping over Pace

Posted by: DanZo on April 25, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, Andrew Sullivan is still a jackass. Iraq was a "noble, important and necessary war"? The war was ruined "almost single-handedly" by Rumsfeld? Sullivan thinks "no one" was able to stop him?

Those three statements should serve as a negative resume for Sullivan - nobody who believes any one of them (much less all three; that's quite a hat trick of duplicitous gullibility) should be gainfully employed in the field of political writing, because they're so breathtakingly stupid, or contemptuous of their audience, or both.

If Bush/Cheney wanted Rumsfeld stopped, they could have. They didn't. For Sullivan to pretend otherwise is delusional. For him to argue, in public, that they did, smacks of "Now that Iraq's unpopular, let's throw Rummy from the train!" desperation. Sorry, Sully - it was YOUR beloved president who got us into this mess, with the backing of people like you with your "fifth column" comments, who prevented there from being an honest discussion and accountability. It's your filthy, fucked-up war, and no amount of squealing on your one-time friends is going to get you out of the mud.

Posted by: Chris on April 25, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell, Drum hasn't read Cobra II yet and Anderson Cooper has?

Posted by: Love And Joy on April 25, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Those three statements should serve as a negative resume for Sullivan - nobody who believes any one of them (much less all three; that's quite a hat trick of duplicitous gullibility) should be gainfully employed in the field of political writing, because they're so breathtakingly stupid, or contemptuous of their audience, or both.

Shouldn't be gainfully employed in the field of political writing? Try shouldn't be allowed outside without adult supervision lest he do himself or (worse) us an injury.

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't agree more, Stefan, but I don't have the stomach to try to enforce that kind of rule against Sullivan or anyone else who's that dumb (which is why I write the occasional bitter crack about them online instead of going around with a ruler rapping people's knuckles. That, and the assault charges.)

Posted by: Chris on April 25, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Mistrial declared in Lodi terror case

Yet another Bush failure in his Global Whine on Terror.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 25, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

you forgot:

2020 - The war was a great idea, but we lost it because liberals didn't clap hard enough. Let's not make that mistake in our upcoming invasion of X.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 25, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now," said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Yes, Bush's and the GOP's denial of global warming and refusal to do anything about it was responsible for Katrina.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 25, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Can't you find someone else to take reading advice from?

I don't take much umbrage with 'Cobra II' in itself, but it's disconcerting that you mind Sully's musings and book advice worth paying attention to.

I'm also reminded of your teary-eyed endorsement of Gaddis' new book. Lots of good reading out there. Do yourself a favor and look beyond what fellow Beltway politicos find relevant.

Posted by: Bill on April 25, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

When the Shia start massacring Sunni on a massive scale I suppose Sully will be claiming that we have to invade.
"a noble, important and necessary war is needed to bring freedom to the Sunnis"

It used to be a laugh to watch Sully twisting in the wind but the joke is long since over.

Posted by: wisedup on April 25, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum have alot in common.

They both live lives of leisure, they both enjoy watching the Oscars, and they both enjoy show tunes.

Posted by: MountainDan on April 25, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

So this is how the righties get out of learning anything from the most idiotic policy failure in American history. Heck, we werent wrong to go to war, we just picked the wrong leader to prosecute the thing. Now, the next time...

Read Rummys post above. Funny and true. A million troopsa soldier in every house couldnt have kept those blood enemies from having at it once the constraints were removed.

You see, you whose brains have been taken over by believing rather than thinking, war is the greatest breeder of unintended consequences that exists. People who think they can predict what will happen in war are the biggest idiots on the planet. History, which you are utterly ignorant of, is brimming over with countries who went to war confident of their superiority, confident of a quick victory, who got bogged down, outlasted and finally defeated.

Your pre-emptive doctrine has lead to your ruin, Repuggies. Youd think youd figure out that you shouldnt try it again!

Posted by: James of DC on April 25, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt if the book was delivered to Congress but the SIGIR's reports have been. The 10/31/05 report discussed in some detail the human resource problems with the post-war administration including issues of the other Cabinet members refusing to offer qualified people to fill the billets. As a result,lots of ideologically correct,young people without experience filled some of the billets but only half were filled.
Do you think that since Congress won't read reports prepared specifically for them as the result of legislation,they are likely to read a book?
Well,I guess it could happen. But they still won't ask for Rumsfeld to be fired.

Posted by: TJM on April 25, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, how is this post different from any other post by Andrew Sullivan, which consists of a vague nod to reality combined with desperate cognitive dissonance to avoid reaching the conclusion that he is, has been, and continues to be a third-rate thinker?

Posted by: Kimmitt on April 25, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum have alot in common.

They both live lives of leisure, they both enjoy watching the Oscars, and they both enjoy show tunes.

Hey! Me too!

Posted by: Atrios on April 25, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

The thing about McNamara is, he actually paid attention, and adapted forces to his attrition based strategy. The attrition based stragegy was a total failure, because we killed too many non hostiles and created more hostiles, but even more importantly, because the whole thing was built to force vietnamese to accept a really disliked ruler who was plainly our puppet.

Rumsfeld is far worse, because he never had ANY overall strategy other than "it'll all work out".

the war was a mistake, and builton lies. Nevertheless, it could have been successful in the sense of building a new saddam-free country except for mistakes made by all parts of the Bush administration. Let's count the ways...

1) Rushed the invasion. The 4th ID was sitting in boats coming from turkey, and they could have secured the borders and bagdad.

2) Tried to glorify Chalabi by delivering his militia into Iraq, where they promptly started stealing.

3) After blasting their way up to bagdad in record time, the third ID stood by while all government offices except the oil ministry was looted. WE carefully guarded the oil ministry. The loss of records severely hampered organizing a reconstruction and voting.

4) Failed to secure and destroy weapon stockpiles, allowing a resistance to arm up.

5) Failed to bring along any reconstruction facilities to immediately improve the lives of Iraqi's after 10 years of sanctions. Portable generators, new medicines and medical facilities, and water purification units would to immediately set up and distribute would have gone a long way towards convincing the Iraqi's we were there for them.

6) Failure to build up democracy from the roots up, with immediate local elections. A few places did this successfully and it helped a lot, for a while.

7) Filling the CPA with inexperienced republican hacks hired from Heritage Foundation resume banks.

8) Turning the Iraqi army loose, instead of putting them to work.

9) Kicking out the European and Russian companies with experience in Iraq, who could have rebuilt the facilities they originally installed.

10) Bringing foreign labor into the country for reconstruction, instead of hiring locals who were more than technically saavy enough to do it. High unemployment fuels insurgency. the obvious disrespect of bringing outiders in to repair pipes and electrical lines and phone towers was not lost on Iraqis.

11) Rumsfeld's privatizing of military functions, creating a class of totally unaccountable american mercenaries.

12) Leveling Falluja.

13) Failing counter insurgency 101 by rounding up vast swathes of the population for lock up with no accountability or due process.

14) Authorizing torture.

15) Not forcing Hussein to sign a surrender on behalf of Iraq.

16) Allowing a segregated police and military force to form, allowing political faction to have state sanctioned militas ultimately answerable only to themselves.

17) Building permanent military bases, without even a cover of "we're building them for your ultimate takeover".

18) creating a constitutional process that was so obviously going to fuck the Sunnis.

19) Equating all insurgents, whether Iraqis defending their homes, ex-bathists trying to reclaim power (not that I really believe there are any of these), or foreign Al Qaida terrorists.

20) Building up Zarqawi as a major terrorist leader, instead of treating him like a criminal bug to be squashed.

Thats an easy short-list.

Posted by: Mysticdog on April 25, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

They both live lives of leisure, they both enjoy watching the Oscars, and they both enjoy show tunes.

That was actually kind of funny.

Posted by: craigie on April 25, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan is articulate, but substance-wise he is very lacking? Remember when Kevin challenged him to list some concrete budgetary item that could be cut?

Samuel Knights comment about the brilliant tactics opening the war is right on. I would add that its very obvious that our military is so superior to what Iraq had to offer that ANYBODY could have turned the military loose and gotten great results. You cannot stop vastly superior firepower coupled with control of the air. Think about it. The Iraqis had no chance whatever to stop our assault. The same thing would happen every time


Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 25, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sully: ". . . already the evidence is simply overwhelming that this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined almost single-handedly by one arrogant, overweening de facto saboteur. That man is Donald Rumsfeld"

Wait a minute. I thought it was "the left" that ruined his precious war!

Posted by: kc on April 25, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God quotes: "The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now," said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado."

And opines: Yes, Bush's and the GOP's denial of global warming and refusal to do anything about it was responsible for Katrina.

Hurricane season begins June 1st, and is predicted to be an "active" one this year. The levees in New Orleans will not be ready. People there are being told to "have faith" that another Katrina-size storm won't hit the city this year.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 25, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, via Atrios, here's more from Sullivan about the Iraq War he helped start:

"But the years since, and the atrocities still committed by the Jihadists, have not diminished my or, I suspect, many other people's desire to fight our enemy with vigor and precision. My spine hasn't softened against al Qaeda. If anything, I want to defeat what they represent more now than ever."

The extremely phallic spine stiffening imagery aside, how does he imagine his desire to defeat Al Qaeda (without actually, you know, enlisting or really fighting or even proposing any tax cuts) squares with Bush giving up the pursuit of Al Qaeda for his fool's errand in Iraq?

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

A Nobel War was the work of a Single Saboteur, not Bush, or Cheney or Powell, and that same man, Rummy, is already running covert ops in Iran and same saboteur is making the war plans for Iran?


Is this Guy for Real?
He doesnt Know his History then;
Rummy and Cheney go Way back, no to mention that Jeb Bush was one of the Original PNACkers. Condi Rice also helped to make Rummy the Sole Advisor due to NSC concerns on Rummies part.
Among these People, the Vulcans, they call themselves, the Foreign Policy War Planners, Helped create 'Mr Concepty Kind of Guy' Don Dumsfeld.

Ahfeckinmazin

Posted by: Mach Tuck on April 25, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

I just love all the crazy on this blog.

That's some good crazy!

Posted by: Birkel on April 25, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Bah. Sully just can't admit the war was wrong from the get go, so he's peed his pants with joy to find someone to blame for poor execution of what he still insists was a great idea.

He still says the war was noble and necessary, dispite the lies about WMD? I'm afraid of his definition of ignoble and unnecessary.

Kevin Drum, when are you going to wise up to this gas bag? It was always unwinnable, and it was always WRONG. But since you supported it, maybe it will ease your conscience too.

Posted by: jussumbody on April 25, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Just overheard on cnn, Our Great Leader, in response to rising gas prices has decided to 'ease' environmental regulations on gasoline.

Posted by: cld on April 25, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Just overheard on cnn, Our Great Leader, in response to rising gas prices has decided to 'ease' environmental regulations on gasoline.
Posted by: cld on April 25, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oh well.

Back to Leaded.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 25, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

"But the years since, and the atrocities still committed by the Jihadists, have not diminished my or, I suspect, many other people's desire to fight our enemy with vigor and precision. My spine hasn't softened against al Qaeda. If anything, I want to defeat what they represent more now than ever."

Someone desperately wants to prove his manhood, perhaps to get the permission to enter certain circles.

Posted by: lib on April 25, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Just overheard on cnn, Our Great Leader, in response to rising gas prices has decided to 'ease' environmental regulations on gasoline.

I blame the news media for reporting only the bad news about rising gas prices and not all the good news about the newly painted gas stations. This kind of reporting only lowers our morale and gives aid and comfort to the oil producers.

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Please Kevin,

Why do you seem to seriously link to Sully?

Is it just to spark us off?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on April 25, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.politicasting.com/images/cheney-rummy.jpg
OR CLICK HERE

Hahahaaa, look at these fools googly eyed with power for one another. The Saboteur Works Alone Eh?

Posted by: Bush War Preznit on April 25, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sully needs a Plexautomy

Posted by: Mach Tuck on April 25, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

I just love all the crazy on this blog.

If only you loved to educate yourself half as much as you like to litter these premises with your inanities.

Posted by: obscure on April 25, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Many of the posts contrast the "tactical brilliance" versus the "strategic incompetence" of initial March-April 2003 campaign in Iraq. However, my reading of the Cobra II chapters describing tactical operations, such as the initial fight for Nasiriyah or the attempted helicopter assault of the 11th Aviation Regiment, suggests that tactical brilliance was not a general feature of the campaign. Also, has anyone else noticed the Cobra II back coverjacket blurb from Dick Cheney??

Posted by: George on April 25, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

It gets worse,

http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney04252006.html

"Consider what new Fed-master Ben Bernacke said just yesterday, "If the dollar declined sharply, it would not necessarily disrupt markets".

That's right; the Fed is conspiring to reduce its debt payments by driving a wooden stake into the heart of the greenback. In three to six months the dollar will probably be valued at 1.40 to 1.50 per euro. . . .

The Group of Seven industrialized nations (G-7) took a few swipes at Washington's profligate spending this weekend; warning that they wanted "more flexibility" in the Asian currencies. This is a clear sign that the path is being paved for a freefalling dollar while the other currencies gain ground.

How do you like the idea that half of your savings will be erased through executive fiat?

Since Bush took office the dollar has plummeted 30% against the euro. The only thing that has kept it from joining the peso is the skyrocketing oil prices which have allowed the Fed to keep the printing presses going at full tilt. That's because oil is denominated exclusively in dollars, so while the price per barrel continued upward, the Fed was able to circulate another $2.5 trillion of funny money. The high cost of oil has kept the dollar reasonably stable even though the twin-deficits have eroded its true value. Maintaining the monopoly on the sale of oil (which forces foreign central banks to hold billions of greenbacks in reserve) is critical to US prosperity. A switch to euros would weaken demand for the dollar and send the American economy into a tailspin. . . .

The eroding value of the dollar is just one of the economic crises facing the American people. A 6 month downturn in housing starts signals that the housing bubble, the largest equity bubble in history, is quickly losing steam. With long term interest rates steadily rising (along with energy prices) the shaky loans that were blessed by former Fed-chief, Greenspan, are beginning to unravel. "No down payment", ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) and easy financing have the over-extended American public teetering towards insolvency. Foreclosures are up, mortgages balances are at unprecedented levels, and inventories are larger than they've been since the early 90s.


Posted by: cld on April 25, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

To all you whaling on Drum for posting this, it seems clear to me that a book capable of convincing even a worthless, deluded shit-weasel like Sullivan that Rumsfeld is incompetent must be pretty well laid out. I figured that was a pretty clear implication of this post, am I wrong?

Posted by: matt on April 25, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

That's right; the Fed is conspiring to reduce its debt payments by driving a wooden stake into the heart of the greenback. In three to six months the dollar will probably be valued at 1.40 to 1.50 per euro. . . .

Woohoo, just in time for my summer vacation in Europe!

Uh, hey, wait a minute....

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Alderaan at 4:44: Hilarious!

Posted by: shortstop on April 25, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan writes about a "noble war" in Iraq.

So noble he will stay up all night in his boxers eating cheese doodles and posting noble thoughts on his noble blog. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Brings a tear to the eye.

Why bother reading this fool? I mean, life is short, stupidity is long.

Posted by: pfd on April 25, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

S Ra:

Well, your comments are certainly of doubtful value, that's for sure.

Thanks for the correction on cell phone usage in Egypt. Was I wrong about Syria and Iran?

Posted by: republicrat on April 25, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the correction on cell phone usage in Egypt. Was I wrong about Syria and Iran?

Yes, since your comment was "if there weren't more cell phones, webloggers, satellite televisions, and newspapers than in Syria, Egypt and Iran combined," and since Egypt alone has many more cell phones, webloggers, satellite televisions and newspapers than wartorn Iraq, then yes, you were ridiculously wrong. Which you would have known if you'd spent even a day in any of those countries. Where (assuming you're not just making it up) do you find this garbage?

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

You had to be ignorant, a lunatic, or have nonstandard motives to support the invasion of Iraq. That means that we couldn't expect good execution, either: no competent and honest person could possibly get any of the top jobs, only true believers.
So we got Tommy Franks, college dropout, because the smarter generals didn't want to have anything to do with it. Tommy didn't think there was any chance of an insurgency: he didn't expect one at all. Tommy must never have visited the 20th century, must never have heard of _any_ of the anticolonial wars. We got Bremer, who didn't see how laying off the entire Iraqi Army could do any harm - another boy from the short bus.
The correlation between strategic validity and quality of execution was natural and inevitable.

Reminds me of what my five year old said to the teenager he'd just checkmated - "It's OK, you're just stupid."

Posted by: gcochran on April 25, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Cia factbook:
Iran
pop: 68 m (2006)
landline: 14.5 m (2003)
mobile: 4.3 m (2004)

Syria
pop: 18 m (2006)
landline: 2.34m (2004)
moblie: 2.66 m (2004)

Iraq
pop: 27m (2006)
landline: 1.0 m (2004)
mobile: .5 m (2004) 2.7 m according to a us government doc from last summer.

So, in the summer of 2005 Iraq had just a tad more mobile phones than Syria had in 2004, with 50% more population.

Yea, you were quite probably wrong on every claim, and even wrong when backing off from "all combined" to "any of these three individually" except possibly in the case of syria because its population is 2/3 of iraq's.

Glancing at the cia's numbers cell phones is the best looking stat for Iraq, the others are all considerably further from your claim than that one.

In addition looking at these numbers I find it likely that Iraq is in part experiencing relatively high cell phone usage because of its very poor land line network (which has had a few too many smartbombs dropped on it lately).

Posted by: jefff on April 25, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined almost single-handedly

Complete bullshit, but that's conservatives for ya - military jock-sniffers, with a hardon for kickin muslim ass. But the reason Drum posts this is because it closely mirrors his own view - that incompetence from the Bush admin screwed up a reasonably good idea.

That's the so, so tired song many of the former "liberal" hawks are singing, either implicitly or overtly. (The "serious-minded" chin-scratchers in the blogs - Ezra, Yglesias, Drum, etc. - and in the NYT, TNR, WaPo).

Posted by: luci on April 25, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

"this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war..."

Try "stupid, reckless and predictably disastrous."

Posted by: BroD on April 25, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

why are we worried about the foreign policy of Israel? they have alot of planes, submarines and alot of nukes. Secondly Why are we fighting someone elses History thats much Older than US?
Third, the Jews are Guilty of War themselves, by Engaging in this OLD HISTORY, we are repeating it.
Thats not Progressing;
To Wit;
As citizens of the Roman Empire, the Jews of Spain engaged in a variety of occupations, including agriculture. Until the adoption of Christianity, Jews had close relations with non-Jewish populations, and played an active role in the social and economic life of the province. The edicts of the Council of Elvira, although early (and perhaps precedent-setting) examples of Church-inspired anti-Semitism, provide evidence of Jews who were integrated enough into the greater community to cause alarm among some: of the Council's 80 canonic decisions, all which pertain to Jews served to maintain a separation between the two communities. It seems that by this time the presence of Jews was of greater concern to Catholic authorities than the presence of pagans;

Barbaric invasions brought most of the Iberian Peninsula under Visigothic rule by the early fifth century. Other than in their contempt for Catholics, who reminded them of the Romans, the Visigoths did not generally take much of an interest in the religious creeds within their kingdom. It wasn't until 506, when Alaric II (484-507) published his Brevarium Alaricianum (wherein he adopted the laws of the ousted Romans), that a Visigothic king concerned himself with the Jews;

The Jews of Spain had been utterly embittered and alienated by Catholic rule by the time of the Muslim invasion. To them, the Moors were perceived as, and indeed were, a liberating force. Wherever they went, the Muslims were greeted by Jews eager to aid them in administering the country. In many conquered towns the garrison was left in the hands of the Jews before the Muslims proceeded further north. Thus were initiated the two centuries of Muslim rule in Spain which became known as the "Golden Age" for Spanish Jews.

2 centuries of Muslim Rule, the "Golden Age"

Jews getting busy with the Muslims? Oh Yeh.
But Wait here Comes the CATERWAULING AGAIN;

With the victory of Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711, the lives of the Sephardim changed dramatically. In spite of the stigma attached to being dhimmis (non-Moslem members of monotheistic faiths) under Moslem rule, the coming of the Moors was by-and-large welcomed by the Jews of Iberia.

Both Moslem and Christian sources tell us that Jews provided valuable aid to the invaders. Once captured, the defense of Cordoba was left in the hands of Jews, and Granada, Mlaga, Seville, and Toledo were left to a mixed army of Jews and Moors. The Chronicle of Lucas de Tuy records that "when the Christians left Toledo on Sunday before Easter to go to the Church of the Holy Laodicea to listen to the divine sermon, the Jews acted treacherously and informed the Saracens. Then they closed the gates of the city before the Christians and opened them for the Moors."

And Traitors to boot.. Yey Well you guys can protect 'Jews' which all in all to me, this is just a bunch of warring groups, and have been for centuries, wackos all,living in the past. Again.


Posted by: ENUFF ENUFF on April 25, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well you guys can protect 'Jews' which all in all to me, this is just a bunch of warring groups, and have been for centuries, wackos all,living in the past. Again.

Posted by: ENUFF ENUFF on April 25, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

So when do you do the Nordic Pride thing and blame them for WWII?

Posted by: McA on April 25, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the latest from Brookings:

http://www.brookings.org/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf

On p. 39, telephone subscribers have increased dramatically, but do not exceed Syria and Iran combined. Sorry about that.

It's worth reading the whole thing. It isn't a pretty picture. Footnote 82 on p. 30 is interesting, usually overlooked in discussions of Iraqi electricity (but not overlooked in the IEEE article that I posted a couple days befor Kevin posted it.)

They have a 25% higher GDP per person than pre-war (yet a 25%-45% unemployment rate), 5 times as much vehicular traffic (twice as many cars), wait an average of an hour to fill up with gas, and have had 2000 doctors murdered since the invasion, and 12,000 doctors have emigrated. they have more trined judges, and the criminal justice system handles more cases than 2 years ago. the people phone in about 4,000 actionable tips per month to the security forces. Their political freedom index ties that of Palestine for 4th in the region. They have 300 registered political parties, 29 commercial tv stations, and over 100 independent newspapers and magazines.

Except for the Sunnis, large majorities think that it was worth the trouble to get rid of the Baathist government.

As I wrote, it isn't pretty, but it is well worth reading monthly or so.

Posted by: republicrat on April 25, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

And once again we see a spin-bot attempting to cast the unilateral invasion of Iraq in the same light as WWII.

I have compared criticisms of Bush, the Congress, and the SecDef to criticisms of the leaders of all American wars. Most Northern newspapers reported the Battle of Shiloh as a disaster for the federal army; US Grant disagreed, but then he would, wouldn't he? No more reason to believe his writings than to believe the self-serving writings of Tommy Franks.

Posted by: republicrat on April 26, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

If any of the clowns in the Bush regime were capable of learning from experience, the failure of the second Iraq war would end the silly Project for the New American Centuryand their deceptive statement of principles.
Scapegoating Rumsfeld is insufficient. Bush and Cheney set the policy and are more culpable.

enozinho 4:38 PM: The Democrats: Hoping to ride Bush's coattails Anti-war Americans...

As usually happens in these circumstances, the Democrats were, for the most part, completely intimidated by the fear of being called "soft on terrorism" as happened to them analogously time after time in the cold war. Nixon, for example, was a master of playing the "soft on communism" card. After 50 years of this, they have yet to find a sound bite response.
Apparently you didn't see hundred's of thousands of Americans and millions of others take to the streets to protest Bush's war plan.

republicratt 12:14 AM: I have compared criticisms of Bush, the Congress, and the SecDef to criticisms of the leaders of all American wars.

No, you haven't and you fail to note that in most wars, the US experiences difficulty at the beginning of the military operations and success later. Review the history of the Civil War. In Iraq, like Vietnam, the opposite occurred: the longer the war continues, the worse it becomes.

Posted by: Mike on April 26, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

pfd: Sullivan writes about a "noble war" in Iraq.

So noble he will stay up all night in his boxers eating cheese doodles and posting noble thoughts on his noble blog. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Brings a tear to the eye.

Why bother reading this fool? I mean, life is short, stupidity is long.

Brilliant!

Posted by: shortstop on April 26, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Mysticdog on April 25, 2006 at 5:41 PM

The above post is quite frankly a wonderful short summation of why Iraq has been such a total disaster. While yes I agree that the mission itself was strategically a bad one to begin with it still could have been significantly minimized if proper resources and planning as listed in Mysticdog's post had been in place instead of the debacle we saw instead. Everything I have gathered about Cobra II indicates the material is well written, well sourced/documented, and leaves little to no room to spin away the reality it paints for the reader. This is a good thing, because it is badly needed. This was a blunder of truly epic proportions, and the way in which Bushco thought they could just waltz in decapitate Saddam's control and then waltz back on out leaving a new government willing to work in the interests of America enhanced that blunder by at least a couple of orders of magnitude, if not more as time will tell us. Sully is clearly clutching at straws to be blaming Rummy, for while yes he certainly has his share of responsibility in all this he serves at the Pleasure of the President, and the President has made clear it is his pleasure to allow Rummy to continue doing his fine job of being the living peter principle totem for the military sector of the Bush regime.

This war was such a strategic mistake from the outset it was hard to see any positive outcome for at least a decade or two, and that only after some very hard work and commitment of resources, especially rebuilding basic infrastructure but not limited to that. However none of that works without a stable security environment, and that has not existed in Iraq since the late summer to early fall of 2003 with the bombing of the UN post and its representative in Iraq. Without the things Mysticdog listed being in place this could not be achieved. Thus the disaster is magnified tremendously, bin Laden gets precious recuperation time and operational planning time, major new recruitment tools, massive hostility to America so soon after the massive sympathy and solidarity after 9/11/01 (of all things Bushco abused and squandered the unity in both America domestically and the western world and much of the rest of the world with America in opposing this scourge this was the most priceless strategically IMHO) yet people like Sully lament their noble cause being destroyed by one man? If that man is not Bush then it is no-one, because this order of FUBAR takes a concerted group effort to manage. One could well make a case that their actions look like those of an enemy of America's place in the world and wanted to reduce its power significantly, and to date those have been the primary results aside from electoral victories for Bush and the GOP in 2002-04 that is.

It sounds like this book may well end up being one of the more definitive works on exactly how badly this war was planned and executed, at least for some years to come at least. It also appears it is very hard for the GOP/Bushco/Trolletariat to discredit and that is also to the good. This war is going to have major negative ramifications for Americans, America and indeed the world in general for decades to come. That also will not be forgotten by those that used to be America's unwavering allies/supporters in the world, even throughout the western world, and it will have a solid basis in reality and not this illusory "anti-Americanism" that is somehow a result of jealousy or some other such foolish premise. It has been America's actions and foreign policies over the decades that have produced much of this in the world, and Iraq was something that I fear in time will put Vietnam to shame for its strategic impacts on America in this regard as in so many others.

I have said it before here and I say it again. I grew up listening to people, Americans in particular being baffled at how such an evil and dangerous man could be seen as such a hero and great leader by his nation's majority until his downfall. That such a thing could never happen in America, Americans would never allow such a horrible thing. Well as time goes by and more of the atrocities Bushco has done in the name of Americans to protect them comes out the more they will see that this is exactly what has happened to them. The only difference so far is that Bush has not triggered an all out world war, but if he truly intends to attack Iran as has been speculated upon (with or without nukes, the former all but guarantees it while the latter still leaves a good chance for it) at the minimum a regional war with global strikes is all but assured. Yet Americans appear to have knowingly reelected a man that sanctioned torture done in America's name, Gitmo, renditionings of people like Maher Arar the Canadian citizen sent to Syria while waiting in NY on his plane to lift off and head to Canada after flying across the Atlantic and other despicable acts. I only hope and pray that Bush is not able for whatever reason to manage to attack Iran before he leaves office, but given the history to date I am not willing to bet on it. Iraq has all but completely broken the American ground forces components, and I gather Cobra II also helps make clear exactly how badly the American ground forces have been degraded while they do they best they can with the limited resources and support they have been given, contrary to all the assurances by Bushco about how the troops have everything they need and how the military commanders set these policies and not the civilians in Washington. Well we all know now just how much a pack of lies that was, and as a result we see one of the most graphic examples of how trying to do something on the cheap can and usually costs you far more than if you pay the costs needed at the beginning for a properly managed/executed result.

Posted by: Scotian on April 26, 2006 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

"........already the evidence is simply overwhelming that this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war ........."

Your view is horseshit (in my view)

Posted by: Gerald on April 26, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Seems your hearts are in he right place, Mystic Dog and Scotian, but I must vehemently disagree with your conclusions. Under no circumstances could an invasion of Iraq have been a success. You cannot impose democracy on a country that is not ready for it, no matter how many troops you have and how brilliant your planning is.

The first and most important ingredient for democracy to work is this: all factions have to understand they must protect the rights of others as zealously as they protect their own. Arabs and Persians dont think this way. They also must win democracy themselves to value it enough to protect it.

Any belief on our part that a pre-emptive war might turn out well if done right only plays into the hands of the hot heads on the right.

Posted by: James of DC on April 26, 2006 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. Sounds like I should pick up a copy.
Kevin Drum

Of course you should Kevin because it will tell you exactly what you WANT to hear.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 26, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Under no circumstances could an invasion of Iraq have been a success. You cannot impose democracy on a country that is not ready for it, no matter how many troops you have and how brilliant your planning is...

This presupposes that Iraq was (is) not ready for democracy. But how do we know that? It seems to me that a relatively small proportion of the population is attempting to impose its will on the rest of the country through violence. This doesn't mean Iraqis aren't ready for democracy. It only means that some of them aren't.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 26, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

This presupposes that Iraq was (is) not ready for democracy. But how do we know that? It seems to me that a relatively small proportion of the population is attempting to impose its will on the rest of the country through violence. This doesn't mean Iraqis aren't ready for democracy. It only means that some of them aren't.

A relatively small but determined minority is usually all it takes. The Bolsheviks in 1917 were only a small minority of the Russsians, but they were the most determined and the most violent and they were therefore able to seize control for themselves; the same happened with the Nazis in 1930s Germany. You need a determined and relatively united majority to blunt the efforts of a fanatical minority.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

The first and most important ingredient for democracy to work is this: all factions have to understand they must protect the rights of others as zealously as they protect their own. Arabs and Persians dont think this way.

I'll disagree with that. There is nothing inherent in either the Arab or Persian character to prevent them from exercising democracy -- Iran, for example, while certainly an imperfect model of the form, is in some ways a functioning democracy (at lower levels, that is, not at the level of the ruling council of mullahs). Similar things have been said before about the Irish, the Italians, the Turks, the Indians, the Russians, the Chinese, the Africans, etc. and they've always been proven wrong with time.

The more accurate way to phrase it would be that people who've just come out of a violent authoritarian culture overlaid onto a tribal society don't think that way yet. Given time and experience, every society can successfully implement a democracy of its own.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Cobra II is a terrific, well-source account of the military aspects of the invasion, and isn't argumentative until the story has been told. Its description of how the war planning unfolded is fascinating and documents Rumsfeld's insistence on a small mobile force, and how that ignored the issues of protecting the military's rear and the (related) consequence of how to occupy the country after the fall of the kleptocracy. The suddenness at the end of the narrative of the fateful decision to demobilize the Iraqi army--reflecting how little thought went into the decision--is the shocker, coming as it did after the emergence of the highly mobile, decentralized, and well-armed fedayeen as a military threat during the invasion itself. The identification of the policy maker behind the decision is a shocker!

Posted by: Bruce on April 26, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: Hurricane season begins June 1st, and is predicted to be an "active" one this year. The levees in New Orleans will not be ready. People there are being told to "have faith" that another Katrina-size storm won't hit the city this year.

In other words, faith will set you adrift.

Sorta like the neocon foreign policy has set America adrift on the international political ocean.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 26, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: Of course you should Kevin because it will tell you exactly what you WANT to hear.

Better than conservatives who believe an idiot like Bush when he tells them exactly what they want to hear.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 26, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

See that Rumdumb is visiting Baghdad - Well, many arsonists like to return to watch the fire deparment and the fire.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 26, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Wonderful Lincoln quote uncovered by the apparently eternal Arthur Schlesinger in the April 24th Washington Post:

In February 1848 Rep. Abraham Lincoln explained his opposition to the Mexican War: "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure [emphasis added]. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.' "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/23/AR2006042301014.html

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Wonderful Lincoln quote uncovered by the apparently eternal Arthur Schlesinger...

"Apparently eternal" is right. He must be in his upper '80s, no? I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Posted by: shortstop on April 26, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

"Apparently eternal" is right. He must be in his upper '80s, no? I'm too lazy to look it up right now"

All I know is, he wrote a fascinating memoir about his time as an adjutant to Washington at Valley Forge....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

See what happens to a Representative standing up to a President in the time of war? Why, their career is finished, oops no.

Actually, Polk was a wuss - Took on Mexico over a trumped up incursion into disputed territory - But, he backdowned against the British - Why, the jewels of the Northwest, Vancouver and Vancouver Island could be "OURS" now, if only he had listened to the "Fifty four forty or fight" Yahoos of 1846.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 26, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, sorry about my phrasing. I agree with your point and Ill even enlarge it slightly. All the world will someday be democratic. The urge for freedom beats in every heart, says the Bushsman and for once I agree with him. It's just that democracy needs to grow from below and not be imposed from above. Every country that is now democratic has a long history of attempts, mistakes, and final success. That includes Germany and Italy after WWII. (To rebut the know-nothings who want to use these countries as examples of democracy imposed.) There is one large exception, which to my mind, proves the rule.

Japan after WWII had no history of democracy. It was also the most cohesive nation the world has ever seen. Wherever the divine emperor lead, the people followed. In a very intelligent and therefore unbushlike move, the Americans retained the emperor. (Compare that to Bushie-Rummys dissolution of the Iraq army.) His blessing on the new form of government was all it took to make it a success.

I realize the Americans have very short attention spans, but human society is tens of thousands of years old, folks. We will have to wait a little longer than the day after tomorrow for the entire world to change their form of government to look like ours.

Posted by: James of DC on April 26, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

"the Americans retained the emperor. (Compare that to Bushie-Rummys dissolution of the Iraq army.) His blessing on the new form of government was all it took to make it a success."
Posted by: James of DC

I don't have alot of time so I'll just post and let you roast me in absentia.
You are comparing apples to oranges here. We tried leaving Sadam in power once already and nothing changed. He was the same brutal, butcher (of his own people) as before and he wasn't about to adopt democracy just because WE thought it might be a good idea. Think what you want about repubs and the iraq war but this wasn't a good comparison.
I don't think we should be forcing democracy down thier throats either but sodamn insane had to go and I DO remain hopefull for the Iraqi people.
Ok now go ahead. I've already basted myself all you have to do now is turn the spit.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 26, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.' "

Why do the greatest American presidents hate America?

Posted by: Windhorse on April 26, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

No, you haven't and you fail to note that in most wars, the US experiences difficulty at the beginning of the military operations and success later.

that may be "most" wars, but: in fighting against japan, the difficulties grew greater and greater the nearer the US got to the mainland. In the Spanish -American war the greatest difficulty was the long (4 year) and costly (4,000 US casualties) in the pursuit of the insurgents led by Emiliano Aguinaldo after the defeat of the Spanish. The most difficult (i.e. costly in combat casualties) part of the Civil War for the North was the summer of 1864, 3+ years into the fighting. The most costly combat against Germany occurred 6 months before VE-day (the Battle of the Bulge began with substantial American withdrawals, and ended with 50,000 American dead.) In the War of 1812, the burning of Washington DC occurred just a few months before the armistice, and the only substantial American ground victory occurred after the armistice had been signed. In the Korean War, most American casualties occurred after Ridgeway replaced McArthur and began the slow reconquest of area captured by the Chinese. Truman and Marshall were severely criticised for "losing" China, and there was no time in that war that the American-backed side did well.

To return to the Grant example, he got the nickname "unconditional surrender" in 1862, and he got the nickname "butcher" in 1864; his casualties were a main campaign theme for candidate (and former general) McClellan in 1864.

In 1945 British General Mongomery was still criticising Eisenhower, until Eisenhower threatened to resign if Montgomery didn't shut up. Eisenhower shouldered considerable responsibility for supporting and keeping Patton after the slapping incidents; even in 1945 in victory a large part of the officer corps (most of whom disliked Patton) argued that Eisenhower had made a mistake -- as did millions of citizens and at least dozens of congressment. Eisenhower was criticised both for backing Patton, and for not backing him enough in the summer of 1944.

The thing about all these criticisms is that the people who make them are fanatically self-confident that they are correct. Eisenhower should not have continued with the invasion of southern France, and the US should not have disbanded the Iraqi army. Well, there are strong counterarguments.

As to the Iraqi army, the officer corps was corrupt Baathists and the lower ranks were poorly trained and unmotivated; it's unlikely thy would have done any good at all against the Baathists and jihadists.

Posted by: republicrat on April 26, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Japan after WWII had no history of democracy.

Not quite. Japan developed parliamentary institutions during the Meiji era in the late 19th century, so at the time of WWII it had several generations experience with representative government.

Wherever the divine emperor lead, the people followed.

Except the Emperor was largely a powerless figurehead, retained for his ceremonial power and authority but not actually the one who made any decisions. The real policy choices were made by the top ministers and military men, who used the Emperor to put an imprimatur on their designs -- think Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Go back and look at the LOOONG list of mistakes posted by Mysticdog at 5:41 PM.

Consider that, rather than bringing about a peaceful and quick transition to a new regime, the cumulative effect of these mistakes has been to create a never-ending cycle of violence and corruption. A Long War.

Consider that these mistakes have lent legitimacy to the old claims of our enemies- that we are some kind of neo-colonial empire bent on looting their resources.

Consider the obscene amount of our money being spent and the widespread corruption in Iraq, particularly in the awarding of rebuilding contracts- and yet little is actually being rebuilt.

Consider the huge contracts for private companies to provide supply services that the military used to handle itself. This was supposed to give better quality for less cost, remember?

Consider the possibility that these are NOT mistakes.

Everyone seems to have forgotten the first questions to be asked in any investigation:
1) Who benefits?
2) Where did the money go?

Yeah, I know... "Never attribute to conspiracy what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

Anyone who really thinks Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al. are as stupid as the Prez acts, has their head up their butt.

Go ahead, call me paranoid- but I can tell a flat-out heist when I see one. The enormity of the crime is, I think, what prevents people from seeing it. They couldn't really be so evil as to kill tens of thousands of people for money, could they?

They could, if the money's right. How does a BILLION dollars a week sound?

Posted by: RobW on April 27, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

puh-leeze. It's nice that Sullivan's got a scapegoat but there's much more to what's wrong about this war than bad execution.

Posted by: secularhuman on April 27, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I find that a lot of former suppporters of the war are among the most vehement Rumsfeld critics. To me, there's a subconscious effort at play to find a scapegoat, so the fault lies not with their decision to support the war, but rather Rumsfeld's handling of it.

Posted by: Chris

there's nothing SUBconscious about it.

Posted by: secularhuman on April 27, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly, Chris and Secular. The rush to excoriate Rumsfeld worries me, too. If the Repugs think their failure in Iraq is all Rumsfeld they will have learned nothing and if they manage to convince the people of that nonsense, they will be of the hook. Let us be careful about seeking his head. We need to criticize but not demonize. Make sure everyone in the executive gets an equal share of the blame.

Posted by: James of DC on April 27, 2006 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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