Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 29, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

REVISITING THE SURGE....Remember how President Bush's supporters bitterly complained last month when critics claimed that the "surge" in Iraq was just a desperate ploy cooked up because both withdrawal and doing nothing were politically unacceptable? Remember how they claimed that in reality it was inspired not by political cynicism but by the sober military recommendations of Frederick Kagan and Gen. Jack Keane?

That was then. Here's Frederick Kagan now:

This is not our plan. The White House is not briefing our plan.

Back to political cynicism then? If neither the joint chiefs of staff nor the commanders on the ground in Iraq backed the plan, and if Kagan says Bush's plan isn't the one he and Keane proposed, then whose forehead did it spring from? Dick Cheney's?

Kevin Drum 12:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Fred Kagan has been wrong in 2002, wrong in 2003, wrong in 2004, wrong in 2005 and wrong in 2006. Therefore, in 2007, will he be wrong or right?

My guess is ... wrong. Why does anyone listen to this fat chickenhawk incompetent anymore?

Posted by: POed Lib on January 29, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

> nd if Kagan says Bush's plan isn't the one
> he and Keane proposed, then whose forehead
> did it spring from? Dick Cheney's?

Even more terrifying thought: George W. Bush's.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 29, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Whose forehead did it spring from? Wrong question. It's clearer than ever that whoever's idea the surge is, they pulled it straight out of their ass.

Posted by: Jeff on January 29, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

How 'bout a surge for Afghanistan?

Nah!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on January 29, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kissinger, that's who.

Posted by: anony on January 29, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Forehead? Go 'round back and south about three feet.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

No, even Kissinger isn't enough into his dotage to come up with this one.

Posted by: idlemind on January 29, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Just more spin from Kagan. Is he doing the Kerry flip-flop? Smells like it to me. Just like I think McCain didn't think Smirk would go along with McCain's suggestion. It is funny in a sad way how McCain and HRC are both trying to triangulate and see Smirk blow it all to hell, but for some reason us "little people" seem to be able to read Smrik better than they are.

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 29, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

D'oh! Jeff beat me to it.

G/E '08: We had a post about that at the new place Kevin was kind enough to introduce for us a couple of weeks ago.

Surging in the Wrong Direction

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

If neither the joint chiefs of staff nor the commanders on the ground in Iraq backed the plan,

Nonsense Kevin. Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of troops in Iraq, supports the plan.

http://wpherald.com/articles/3166/1/General-hits-anti-surge-efforts/Efforts-called-enemy-hope.html

"The next U.S. commander for Iraq told Congress yesterday that pending Senate resolutions against a surge of more than 21,000 troops give the enemy hope by depicting America as divided on winning the war. "

Posted by: Al on January 29, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that they meant to do Kagan's plan. It's just that, as always with these boys, what with the incompetence, the delusions, the lack of perspective, the fiscal imprudence, the plan wasn't recognizable to Kagan after Bushco tweaked it. Up is down.

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 29, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Whodathunk that putting lipstick on a pig would render it unrecognizable?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 29, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

"give the enemy hope by depicting America as divided on winning the war"

Hard to tell what the general and AL are complaining about. The country seems pretty united on the war to me. The last few holdouts should recognize that they're just encouraging the enemy to hope we'll do something stupid, like send in more troops . . .

Posted by: rea on January 29, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no this is just the shotgun approach to deniability. They say a lot of stuff, some of it is at least somewhat contradictory (think the dozens of reasons proffered for the invasion in 2003).

Then in the end, they can actually pull a statement out of the historic record that proves they were right all along. And the lazy MSM with their 3 sec. attention span doesn't seem to care.

Posted by: Keith G on January 29, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I love (and by that I mean "hate") that the new number of troops is LESS than used to be there and were ineffective then as well.

Bush is a liar, a boob, and a gangster. He sure is versatile.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 29, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Dang, Blue Girl, Red State said it more artfully than I did. ;-)

Posted by: Jeff on January 29, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus wrote the book, and here are some excerpts:

Petraeus on war and public opinion

Since time is crucial, furthermore, sufficient force must be used at the outset to ensure that the conflict can be resolved before the American people withdraw their support for it. Nothing succeeds with the American public like success, the military realize; the sooner the mission is accomplished, the better.

Channeling Patton? Seriously. Short military involvements are desirable if necessity dictates military action, but no martial involvement is always preferred because war represents the failure of diplomacy. Americans are not fickle, as this seems to imply. Americans are, however, intelligent enough to see the differences between justified conflict (Afghanistan) and folly (Iraq).

On fighting insurgencies

Others, who believe that the U.S. could develop suitable American forces for counterinsurgency operations, have doubts about the existing capabilities of U.S. units in this area. As one U.S. officer put it, "I submit that the U.S. Army does not have the mind-set for combat operations where the key terrain is the mind, not the high ground. We do not take the time to understand the nature of the society in which we are fighting, the government we are supporting, or the enemy we are fighting."

In other words, forgo the hubris and try a little cross-cultural understanding. I can endorse that notion.

On civilian officials

The military also took from Vietnam (and the concomitant activities in the Pentagon) a heightened awareness that civilian officials are responsive to influences other than the objective conditions on the battlefield. A consequence has been an increase in the traditional military distrust of civilian political leaders. While the military still accept emphatically the constitutional provision for civilian control of the armed forces, there remain from the Vietnam era nagging doubts about the abilities and motivations of politicians and those they appoint to key positions. Vietnam was a painful reminder for the military that they, not the transient occupants of high office, generally bear the heaviest burden during armed conflict. (emphasis mine)

On dealing with the President

"Don't commit American troops, Mr. President," they hold, "unless:

1) You really have to (in which case, presumably, vital U.S. interests are at stake);

2) You have established clear-cut, attainable military objectives for American military forces (that is, more than just some fuzzy political goals).

3) You provide the military commander sufficient forces and the freedom necessary to accomplish his mission swiftly. (Remember, Mr. President, this may necessitate the mobilization of the reserve components -- perhaps even a declaration of war.)

4) You can ensure sufficient public support to permit carrying the commitment through to its conclusion."

For the military, in short, the debate over how and when to commit American troops abroad has become a debate over how to avoid, at all costs, another Vietnam.

Good luck, General. you are off to salvage a mission for a president who blatantly violated every tenet of your very own thesis on avoiding another Viet Nam.

I don't think I'd touch that billet with a ten foot pole. But Petraeus did. And that's why the soldiers at Leavenworth immediately morphed his name into "Dave Betray-us."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is a liar, a boob, and a gangster. He sure is versatile.

Spit take. And on that note, I'm off to class. Later all.

(also: thanks Jeff_:)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"by depicting America as divided" ~ otherwise known as "democracy".

Posted by: Robert on January 29, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

And who whispered into Dick Cheney's ear?

The people inside the energy task force, or the members of the NPAC, inviting big oil to hear all about the cakewalk? That taking oil contracts from foreign countries is like taking candy from a baby, it was as easy as desposing of Saddam.

Why did Bush want Richard Clarke to lie about 9/11 being Saddam's fault and not bin Laden's fault? Why did Bush sit there in that classroom for 10 minutes while American was being attacked, and looking like a man who know what was going down.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 29, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Insignificant men are running this government. They are embarrassingly petty, small-minded and frankly incapable of understanding the institutions they imagine they are defending in a benighted world.

History will remember Dick Cheney and his minions as America’s equivalent of the boorish communist bureaucrats that overtook the Soviet Union in its final decades. They are parasites of institutions with no talent, or toleration, for open government. They are creatures of subterfuge, obfuscation, private power and project-wars. They do not offer a government of leader-ship in a democratic society of debate that concludes upon a consensus. To the contrary they demand follower-ship for their Trotskyite vanguard politics.

Glenn Greenwald reminded us today how far they are from admirable leadership in a time of real, as opposed to politically defined, struggle.

Lincoln:

But to return to your position. 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.

Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day 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."

The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

or Churchill:

The worst that could happen might be that they might have to offer some rather laborious explanations to their constituents. Let it not be said that parliamentary institutions are being maintained in this country in a farcical or unreal manner. We are fighting for parliamentary institutions. We are endeavouring to keep their full practice and freedom, even in the stress of war.


American government is now so far from this clarity that we should regard it as the cultural norm of a different epoch.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 29, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Much is being made on the partisan news channels and in the partisan press of the supposed futility of the Biden resolution which is plainly critical of the Bush Administration's escalation of the Iraq War. It won't change anything, so the story line goes. Ah, but think. Think a bit.

Crucially, support for the Biden resolution is breaking very, very much along political party lines, with Democrats heavily in favor and Republicans heavily against.

So?

So, if the Biden resultion passes, or even if it fails for lack of Republican Party support, then the war immediately becomes, not just the Bush War, but the Republican Party War as well. In fact, in effect the Iraq War becomes the Republican Party War. And the story line indeed changes.

Thus, my friends, the Biden resolution is not at all futile. The Biden resolution changes everything.

Think about it.

Posted by: Robert Dare on January 29, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

It struck me a little while ago while I was skimming thorough the high points of my favorite blogs and posts about the new developments in Iraq that the greatest hindrance to any real sucess there is the fact that there are no real consequences for the executioners (no pun intended) of any policy if it fails.

Reference Richard Nixon and his well documented end around of the Johnson Administrations attempts to reach a cease fire and his subsequent agreement to Johnson's terms in principle. (See Chris Hitchens)

This is oversimplified personal pet dogma but it follows the dictates of human nature. i.e. You put the work into the decisions when it is your fat that is going to fry or your self interests that are going to suffer. That does not describe King George and his cohorts.

Posted by: OXYMORON on January 29, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Pudge Kagan's denial would seem to go along with McCain's crafted out: They did not surge big and long enough, so they did not really follow my sage advice.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on January 29, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

WHITE HOUSE President Bush says some Democrats have given a "reflexive partisan response" to his ideas for Iraq

If American wanted a un-partisan congress, that would simple go along with Bush's every whim, they would not have voted for a Democratic majority. Since most Americans don't like Bush, why would they want congress to work with Bush's stupid policies? Bush no longer has a "mandate" to be decider anymore as Americans have clearly decided that Bush is NOT the decider anymore because American clearly don't like his decisions.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 29, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's not for Democrats to work with Bush but for Bush to work with Democrats. If Bush continues to refuse to work with the majority congress, than impeachment is the only anwser. Dems should start with info on the energy task force, if Cheney refuses the info - then the Supreme Court and impeachment if there is still refusal. Congress has right to know what was in the meeting BEFORE making energy policy decisions. Dems need only to say it.

Congress can look over who's been wiretapped illegally, that's all we need to get rid of Bush/Cheney and a broken oath of office. NOBODY is above the law, we just need to inforce the law. Subpoena is the first step, and perhaps a simple resignation the next since that's all it took for Nixon.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 29, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain will not get away with a strategy of support for escalation if it succeeds and opposition to escalation if it fails. Despite years of a media lovefest for McCain, his recent antics have firmly fixed him in voters minds for exactly what he is and polls show them deserting him by the tens of thousands and even the media seems to be changing its collective mind.

Sidney Blumenthal is among those not fooled bv the longstanding McCain media hype and in a recent column had this revealing information:

"McCain's political colleagues, however, know another side of the action hero - a volatile man with a hair-trigger temper, who shouted at Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor to "shut up", and called fellow Republican senators "shithead ... fucking jerk ... asshole". A few months ago, McCain suddenly rushed up to a friend of mine, a prominent Washington lawyer, at a social event, and threatened to beat him up because he represented a client McCain happened to dislike. Then, just as suddenly, profusely and tearfully, he apologised."

Tearfully? McCain breaking down publicly and weeping over something ugly he did?

Thus McCain is demonstrably outed not only as much, much too old for the presidency but also much, much too unstable.

Tearfully, indeed!

McCain's days of getting away with it are over.

Posted by: Robert Dare on January 29, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's plan would have worked except for (lets all say it together, we've heard it for 6 years) the Democrats. The longer he and Cheney Machiavelli stay in office without being impeached, the more his media mouthpieces will tear at the emotional and mental fabric of this country.

Read Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard today with the 6 steps of Repeating the Mistakes of Viet Nam. He says victory is at hand and the Democrats want to give up. (would link if I knew how)

Victory is at hand in Iraq, folks and us liberals are screwing it up for Bush. So you see, scapegoats are everywhere for this administration, if a plan works, yeah for Bush, if it doesn't work, bad Democrats! There is always someone for Bush to blame and a media mouthpiece to spread it. (hi Rushie, how ya doing, old hoss.)

No matter that before Novemeber victory was NOT at hand, or that anyone even knew what "victory" meant, but for 6 years it was the fault of liberals who weren't in power, and now its the fault of the liberals who are in power.

Mommy, make it stop!

Posted by: Zit on January 29, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I believe they're all calling it "Petraeus' plan" now.

You know a plan is f***ed when the architects of said plan start backing away and finding scapegoats BEFORE they execute it.

Posted by: semper fubar on January 29, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

also not exactly Kagan's plan, but this time successful:

http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/01/iraqi_army_battles_s.php

Initiated by Iraqis, supported by Americans.

cheryl: Dems should start with info on the energy task force, if Cheney refuses the info - then the Supreme Court and impeachment if there is still refusal.

Better for the Democrats to push their own energy plan, already written and with most of the Democrats already signing on.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 29, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why the Senators Preen and Coo
( cognitorex blogspot )
In the Wolf/Cheney interview. Cheney says no one forecast how beaten down the Shia were from thirty years under Saddam. This translates in Cheney-speak to: "The Shia are pussies," hence we can arm them and train them but the Sunni's are still going to kick their ass.
Yesterday Sunni insurgents tossed rockets into the Green Zone, again.
Somebody please ask Petraeus, on record, what are the odds if we leave Iraq today that the Sunnis will kick the Shia's butt?
The preening Senator's could have asked Petraeus some educational questions when they had him on the stand but for some reason that's not how Senate committees work.
I wonder if you put mirrors next to each Senator if they'd damage themselves from excessive self peckerheading?
I think we're backing the losing team. Iraq will be controlled by violent armed men for at least the next decade. Right now, due to the administration's incompetence, it's controlled by violent armed Americans. If we wish to have safety in the Green Zone, we're going to have to surge, augment and escalate for a looong time.

Maybe that's why the Senators preen and coo.
Reality says there's little else to do.

Posted by: Craig Johnson on January 29, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously we should be purging, not surging.

Our president and his self-appointed side-kick, seem to think that they KNOW what is best.

God tells George what to do and Big Oil tells Dick what to do.

Not the voters. Not Congress.

We lament the chaos in the Mid-East, yet (many of us) fail to see how theocratic our own administration has become.

Not good.

George has asked us all to "give his plan time to work."

Huh? How on earth will Iraq resume a semblance of domestic tranquility when our very presence breeds the contempt that we seek to squelch?

It's as if your elementary teacher said "recess sucks, you do not need a chance to get fresh air and recharge your batteries during the schoolday."

How many kids would be happy with no recess?

How many Iraqis really think our presence in Iraq is Fab?

The enemy grows. Surge or not.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 29, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

also not exactly Kagan's plan, but this time successful

I believe your analysis may be a bit premature if not facile.

First of all, Roggio's roundup of the reports is just so much fishwifery because the reports of what happened are terribly conflicting.

How many fighters were there? Depending on the source the number of fighters killed is anywhere from zero to three hundred, with two hundred being a popular number and some sources saying the insurgents were captured and not killed.

What was the makeup of the fighters? While the "Army of Heaven" is a popular answer other answer include a mix of Al Qaeda and Shi'ites (yeah, that's gonna happen), some sources describe the forces as "insurgents," and other have said that they all came from other countries in the region.

Who did the fighting? The story says the Iraqi Army with "support" from the U.S. Well, "support" tells us nothing and an analysis of this event first needs an accuarate description of what is meant by "support" before its worth anything. It's hard to believe the Iraqi forces did this successfully on their own since 1) they have a woeful record fighting insurgents and militias and 2) OUR commanders on the ground in Iraq say the Iraqi Army is predictably unreliable, disorganized, unmotivated -- and just plain bad at what they do and 3) an American helicopter was shot down, suggesting our involvment was more than just coaching.

So to sum up:

You can't know how well you've done if you have no idea of how many enemy forces you've killed.

You can't know how well you've done if you don't even know who the enemy is to know what level of proficiency you're facing.

And finally, you can't know how well you've done if you don't even know the makeup of allied forces and who did the heavy lifting.

Could this event be replicated over and over so that we know there is some way forward for the Iraqis? Who the hell knows, because we don't even know what happened this time.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 29, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats missed their opportunity to launch a preemptive strike against this fatuous surge when they let Gates nomination for SecDef sail through without grilling him on what he would do if Bush planned to escalate the war in Iraq. Bush played the Dems for fools once again.

When will Democrats find some testicles (Sorry, Nancy P.) and play hardball with these bastards? Extend the hand of bipartisanship to these slimeballs and they will slap you in the face every time. Now Gates is using the same tired lines as Bush about "if you oppose the surge, you are siding with the terrorists". We need to slap these bastards back hard by (1) Immediately cutting funding for the war, and (2) bringing Articles of Impeachment to the floor of the House. It's showdown time, folks. Most Americans will find that sort of courage a refreshing change. Believe it.

For a more articulate presentation of this view go to: www.consortiumnews.com/2007/012707.html

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 29, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Coward of the County - Kenny Rogers
Everyone considered him the coward of the county
He'd never stood one single time to prove the county wrong
His mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him yellow
Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong.

He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison
I looked after Tommy, 'cause he was my brother's son
I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy
"Son my life is over, but yours has just begun".

CHORUS:
"Promise me son not to do the things I've done
Walk away from trouble if you can
It won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek
I hope you're old enough to understand
Son, you don't have to fight to be a man".

There's someone for everyone, and Tommy's love was Becky
In her arms he didn't have to prove he was a man
One day while he was working, the Gatlin boys came calling
They took turns at Becky (there was three of them).

Tommy opened up the door, and saw his Becky crying
The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand
He reached above the fireplace, and took down his daddy's picture
As his tears fell on his daddy's face, he heard these words again.

CHORUS

The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the barroom
One of them got up and met him half way cross the floor
When Tommy turned around they said "Hey look old yellow's leaving"
But you could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door.

Twenty years of crawling were bottled up inside him
He would hold nothing back -- he let 'em have it all
When Tommy left the barroom, not a Gatlin boy was standing
He said, "This one's for Becky," as he watched the last one fall

(and I heard him say)

"I promised you Dad, not to do the things you've done
I walk away from trouble when I can
Now please don't think I'm weak I didn't turn the other cheek
And Papa I should hope you understand
Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man".

Everyone considered him the coward of the county.

Posted by: Dems Theme Song on January 29, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Can we cut just the reconstruction funding. When Haliburton runs out of money there done, No reason to stay anymore.

Posted by: john john on January 29, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Bush, McCain, Cheney, Petraeus, Kagan et al ilk I can take.
But Kenny Rogers? Sir, have you no decency?

Posted by: Mooser on January 29, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

windhorse: I believe your analysis may be a bit premature if not facile.

As presented, I intended it to be facile. The number engaged might have been 1,000; the number killed might have been 350; the attack was initiated by an Iraqi civil authority who called on Iraqi military who called on American support.It hasn't been reported yet how many of those who were surrounded managed to escape.

Maybe it didn't even happen -- is that not also a possibility? Maybe the only engagements that actually occur are the engagements where helicopters crash. Now that everyone has been alerted, we can read the followup reports.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 29, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

photos of the religious festival.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/6311877.stm

Posted by: calibantwo on January 29, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Now that everyone has been alerted, we can read the followup reports.

That is a very different statement than "the plan is working."

the attack was initiated by an Iraqi civil authority who called on Iraqi military who called on American support

Prove it. At least one account of what happened says something different.

Until more is known you're just spinning propaganda.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 29, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

I would be less suspicious of the veracity of the reports of massive casualties of intended bad actors is we had not just caught them in a blatant propaganda lie. I want to believe that yesterdays battle was as decisive as the reporting indicates, but in the wake of the Karbala lie, I have reservations. If you want me to trust you...tell the fucking truth.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

67% of citizens reject sending more troops to Iraq. Cheney and Bush say they are going
forward any way. They clearly view congress with total contempt.
Russ Feingold has a hearing to press the issue tomorrow.
He's not into this 'non-binding' nonsense.
The Bush/Cheney cabal accuses democrats of aiding the enemy with their dissension.
These are the worst of times.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 29, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I know it's pretty fashionable to beat up on Kagan, McCain, et al who were calling for more troops all along, and are now saying "not enough" (or whatever), but don't take it to far.

The good thing about Kagan is - he wrote the plan down six months ago -

http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.foreign,pubID.24422/pub_detail.asp


I suppose it changed a little after he hooked up with GEN Keane, but at least he wrote for the record, in a consistent manner, and not in soundbytes. Read it and decide for yourself if it's simple asscovering or legitimite griping. My gut reaction is that it's far more legitimite than not.

More to the point, as much fun as it might be for some to decry everyone who ever supported the war as a "fat chickenhawk incompetent", Keane was one of the handful on the right that didn't place loyalty to President, SecDef, and Party ahead of loyalty to men and mission, or that showed any willingness to speak truth to power.

http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.foreign,pubID.25126/pub_detail.asp

http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.foreign,pubID.24584/pub_detail.asp

http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.foreign,pubID.24824/pub_detail.asp

http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.foreign,pubID.24298/pub_detail.asp

Kagan ain't perfect, but he's not the one you should be angry at. He's also one of the few on the right that tries to think seriously about warfare\security issues, and doesn't seem infatuated with swinging the sledgehammer harder and running up the body count.

http://www.aei.org/books/bookID.865,filter.foreign/book_detail.asp

Review Excerpt

"the development of technologically focused "network-centric warfare" (NCW). But with Afghanistan and Iraq standing grimly in the background, Kagan warns that, in practice, NCW reinforces the concept of war as "killing people and blowing things up" at the expense of the political objectives that separate war from murder."

If, at the end of the day, you don't agree that Kagan is more solution than problem - fine. But he doesn't deserve to be grouped in with a Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, William Haynes, Hugh Hewitt, et al. He's far closer to a Bacevich. Don't worry though - there are plenty of people left that deserve all of our ire.

Posted by: hotrod on January 29, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

From the AP:

The American military said U.S. air power was called in after the Iraqis faced fierce resistance. American ground forces were also deployed after small arms fire downed a U.S. helicopter, killing two soldiers.

U.S. and British jets played a major role in the fighting, dropping 500-pound bombs on the militants' positions

And there we have it. Dropping 500 lb. bombs on the enemy isn't "support," it's overwhelming the enemy with vastly superior weaponry while the Iraqi forces look on in awe.

This story is turning out to be a farce, propaganda dreamed up to give hope to the Bush regime dead-enders.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 29, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

This story is turning out to be a farce, propaganda dreamed up to give hope to the Bush regime dead-enders.

Thank you for doing the legwork (fingerwork?) Windhorse. I suspected, and my suspicions were not misdirected.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

"And there we have it. Dropping 500 lb. bombs on the enemy isn't "support," it's overwhelming the enemy with vastly superior weaponry while the Iraqi forces look on in awe."

So now the left is buying into "shock and awe". Wow.

Look, there's a story here that needs to be figured out, and I share Blue Girl's concern over the military's press operation in general, and the Karbala story in particular. I also share Windhorse's concerns re the quality of Iraqi troops. Moreover, I've NEVER bought into the "blame the media" school of "thought". But finding one sentence in an AP report qualifies as neither fingerwork nor legwork. This story will develop over time, for better or worse.

Posted by: hotrod on January 29, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

windhorse: Dropping 500 lb. bombs on the enemy isn't "support," it's overwhelming the enemy with vastly superior weaponry while the Iraqi forces look on in awe.

It's called air support when the ground troops are Americans. It's called air support when the aircraft are A-10s.

windhorse: Prove it. At least one account of what happened says something different. Until more is known you're just spinning propaganda.

cheer up, cheer up, cheer up. maybe by tomorrow it will be an actual defeat, or perhaps some more weddings. At minimum there will be reports of miscommunications and lost opportunities.

Did you like the pictures from the religious festivals? Reportedly (there I go again, glossing over contradictions in the reports) there are hundreds of thousands of participants, maybe millions. Why they gather in such high densities and large numbers in a nation where hundreds (or maybe dozens) of people are killed in suicide bombings every day would seem to be an interesting question. Maybe the solution is in the psyche of those men who engage in self-falgellation self-mutilation; maybe they are seeking to be injured by the bombs. That's more exciting than cutting your own arms with chains, I shouldn't wonder.

Meanwhile, everyone here has been alerted to read about an event that may have happened, and may be interesting. You may be sure that if it was a disaster, Kevin Drum would start a thread about it.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 29, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Cook is back, accusing us of high crimes and treason.

Fucking asshole.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

A-10 Warthogs are tank killers, not bombers. They are not bombers. Learn thy hardware. (I lived on base at Davis-Monthan and had A-10 pilots on either side of me and one across the back fence. They flew a formation over my house when one of my kids was born. I know a bit about that plane. Bombers they ain't.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

And Mike Cook is gone...I moon you while blowing a kazoo, wearing a propeller beanie and waving the flag of Moosylvania. Mike Cook you are a tool and a fool and if you went away forever and took your warmongering bullshit with you, you would not be missed by the sentient beings who inhabit this board.

See ya. Wouldn't wanta be ya.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

If you moon someone while wearing a propeller beanie - doesn't the beanie fall off?

Agree with sentiment and how it was targeted, though.

Posted by: hotrod on January 29, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's called air support when the ground troops are Americans. It's called air support when the aircraft are A-10s.

It's called Americans winning the battle for the Iraqi forces that are unable to do so on their own, and that's the point. If the Iraqi Army can never win a battle against insurgents on its own then it's a useless force -- and that means we can never leave Iraq, right? We can't stand down if they can't stand up. Right?

cheer up, cheer up, cheer up. maybe by tomorrow it will be an actual defeat, or perhaps some more weddings.

Please do fuck right off. It's not about hoping for defeat, it's about exposing the continuous and never-ending stream of lies that started this debacle and have never quit since, from "Iraq is x months away from developing a nuclear weapon" and "the drones can attack our shores in 45 minutes" to "this thing will be a cakewalk" and "we'll be down to 30,000 troops in six months" and "it's just a few dead-enders."

This whole endeavor has been a pack of lies, one upon the next, from why we're really there (get Bush re-elected, remove troops from volatile Saudi Arabia) to who we're fighting and what our intentions are.

The vindication rate for our assertions, predictions and analysis is running close to 100%. What's yours? Amd where's your concern for the abuse of power, the travesty of justice, the collapse of a society into utter chaos, the hundreds of thousands dead?

You have none, and that's the problem.

Did you like the pictures from the religious festivals? Reportedly there are hundreds of thousands of participants, maybe millions.

They were lovely. I noticed you've failed to post the grisly pictures of the hundreds killed and maimed each day, the cholera ridden hospitals, the historically low school attendance, or the refugees streaming out of Iraq each month to escape the violence.

Reportedly, there are 60,00 - 90,000 per month now with over a million having already left.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 29, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

My uncle Morie always used Aunt Sylvia's bobby-pins to keep his yarmulke on his head, so I just assumed.

(Yes. I really have an uncle Morie and an Aunt Sylvia. In Haifa, via Brighton Beach. Oy.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

in a nation where hundreds (or maybe dozens) of people are killed in suicide bombings every day

You loathsome prick. I pray to a God I don't believe in that you magically wake up in Baghdad tomorrow morning, pissing down your leg and wondering what the fuck happened and listening for Rod Serlings voice to tell you you have just stepped into the Twilight Zone - but it won't be over in 30 minutes.

Why don't you trot your ass over there and see what kind of reception you get when you explain to Iraqis that it ain't so bad. you know 'cuz you hears it on KJZS!!!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hello people of Earth!

The surge is not about Iraq...it is about Iran.

Posted by: nehoa on January 30, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Well done, Windhorse.

Globe, you cracked me up! I moon you while blowing a kazoo, wearing a propeller beanie and waving the flag of Moosylvania...ROTF!

calibantwo: cheer up, cheer up, cheer up. maybe by tomorrow it will be an actual defeat, or perhaps some more weddings.

What a specious and heartlessly arrogant remark so worthy of your Shakespearean namesake, a loathsome deformed prick born of a witch, fathered by the devil, and obedient slave of Prospero. The symbology is appropriate of Bush's boot-licking toadies.

Now that you've outed yourself as a lickspittle whelp, your credibility on Kevin's threads have plummeted as much as... well, this chart illustrates it nicely.

Buh-bye.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 30, 2007 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

nehoa: The surge is not about Iraq...it is about Iran.

Many of us suspect as much, nehoa. Many of us also think that the fact that Iraq and Iran represent the second and third largest oil reserves in the world isn't a coincidence either.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 30, 2007 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Dropped off my last phrase.

...the second and third largest oil reserves in the world isn't a coincidence either...why the high interest of a president and veep beholding to oil-interested companies and war profiteers.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 30, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Saudi Arabia now hoping to keep oil pegged at only $50 per barrel and my ability to buy gasolene at the ridiculously low price of $2.41 per gallon are all proof positive that evil oil interests and war profiteers are raping the U.S. citizen. The Bush administration sure hasn't hurt us people who depend, really depend, on gasolene for maintaining our standard of living.

On another note, I actually know a few Iranians and Iraqis who are not raving religious lunatics and who actually see the U.S.A. as the only socially progressive force in the Middle East.

Which isn't to say that social modernism is not coming to their countries no matter how much the various fanatics resist it, but that America when all is said and done is the only political force that unequivically pushes social modernism and equal opportunity and legal protections for minorities.


Posted by: mike cook on January 31, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

BGRS wrote:

A-10 Warthogs are tank killers, not bombers. They are not bombers. Learn thy hardware. (I lived on base at Davis-Monthan and had A-10 pilots on either side of me and one across the back fence. They flew a formation over my house when one of my kids was born. I know a bit about that plane. Bombers they ain't.)
_____________________

CG, the A-10 is an attack aircraft and it most certainly can bomb, though as you said, it's most famous role is using its 30mm Vulcan cannon for strafing. Given its slower speed, the A-10 is a preferred platform for close air support of troops in contact. It can drop precision munitions, bombs or the Maverick missile, as well as area weapons. The Warthog is a shit-hot aircraft for mud-moving. Its one shortcoming is that slow speed means longer response time, so faster movers often get to target before it arrives.

Posted by: Trashhauler on January 31, 2007 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

The Pentagon must like the Warthog, because it is about to award a billion dollar contract to replace the metal-fatigued wings of about 200 aircraft. One big positive feature of the A-10 is its ability to survive a whole lot of small arms and light machine gun fire of an intensity that causes attack helicopters to come crashing down. So the proper comparison for the A-10 is not with modern tactical fighter-bombers, but with attack helicopters.

Posted by: mike cook on January 31, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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