Constant bantering about all things politics and popular...
I'm not really a fan of Dubya's. I've been very reflective lately, just kinda tallying up how many mistakes and miscalculations (Wolfowitz's term) have been made in the area of Foreign Policy, and even how absolute warmongers (like me) see complete incompetence from beginning to "end" (it isn't over yet.. most say the worst is yet to come) in the wars on terrorism and Iraq.Let's roll back to General Eric Shinseki’s testimony to Congress on February 25, 2003 just three weeks before the invasion of Iraq. When asked how many troops would be needed to secure post-war Iraq, Shinseki said "several hundred thousand." Three days later Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz dismissed Shinseki’s estimate as "far off the mark," but it is now clear that they had no idea what the occupation of Iraq would require.So, how goes it? Well we tried the "Iraqi Brigade" in Falluja, after not quite succeeding in bringing the bad guys to justice for stringing up American citizens on that bridge.In May, 2004 we understood that "There are no insurgents in Fallujah," according to Mohammed Latif, once a senior intelligence officer in Saddam Hussein’s regime and now commander of the Iraqi brigade controlling the city. Washington has been blaming the conflict in Fallujah partly on "insurgents." Resistance to the occupation is a far more accurate description, and there is plenty of that in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq. Words do make a big difference. In Vietnam we labeled the Vietnamese Communists "terrorists" and "insurgents." This obscured for far too long the reality that they comprised a deeply nationalist movement determined to resist any and all invaders -- however powerful. In this kind of war kill ratios have little meaning. Killed: 58,000 US troops; 2 to 3 million Vietnamese.However, in September 2004 we find: A senior American commander saying the military intended to take back Falluja and other rebel areas by year's end. The commander did not set a date for an offensive but said that much would depend on the availability of Iraqi military and police units, which would be sent to occupy the city once the Americans took it.The American commander suggested that operations in Falluja could begin as early as November or December, the deadline the Americans have given themselves for restoring Iraqi government control across the country."We need to make a decision on when the cancer of Falluja is going to be cut out," the American commander said. "We would like to end December at local control across the country.""Falluja will be tough," he said.At a minimum, the American commander said, local conditions would have to be secure for voting to take place in the country's 18 provincial capitals for the election to be considered legitimate. American forces have lost control over at least one provincial capital, Ramadi, in Al Anbar Province, and have only a tenuous grip over a second, Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad. Other large cities in the region, like Samarra, are largely in the hands of insurgents.Senior officials at the United Nations are concerned that legitimate elections might not be possible unless the security conditions here change. Violence against American forces surged last month to its highest level since the war began last year, with an average of 87 attacks per day. A string of deadly attacks in the past month continued Saturday, with a car bombing that killed at least 19 people in the northern city of Kirkuk.And how did it all begin?As Bush's former Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, and his onetime "terror czar," Richard A. Clarke, have made clear, the president, with the enthusiastic encouragement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, was contemplating action against Iraq from day one. "From the start, we were building the case against Hussein and looking at how we could take him out," O'Neill said. All they needed was an excuse. Clarke got the same impression from within the White House. Afghanistan had to be dealt with first; that's where the actual perpetrators were, after all. But the Taliban was a mere appetizer; Saddam was the entrée. (Or who knows? The soup course?) It was simply a matter of convincing the American public (and our representatives) that war was justified. The real—but elusive—prime mover behind the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, was quickly relegated to a back burner (a staff member at Fox News—the cable-TV outlet of the Bush White House—told me a year ago that mere mention of bin Laden's name was forbidden within the company, lest we be reminded that the actual bad guy remained at large) while Saddam's Iraq became International Enemy Number One. Just like that, a country whose economy had been reduced to shambles by international sanctions, whose military was less than half the size it had been when the U. S. Army rolled over it during the first Gulf war, that had extensive no-flight zones imposed on it in the north and south as well as constant aerial and satellite surveillance, and whose lethal weapons and capacity to produce such weapons had been destroyed or seriously degraded by UN inspection teams became, in Mr. Bush's words, "a threat of unique urgency" to the most powerful nation on earth.Me thinks we've been snookered.
MILITARY SERVICE Portrait of George Bush in '72: Unanchored in Turbulent TimeBy SARA RIMERNew York TimesPublished: September 20, 2004http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/20/politics/campaign/20bama.html?hpNineteen seventy-two was the year George W. Bush dropped off the radar screen.He abandoned his once-prized status as a National Guard pilot by failing to appear for a required physical. He sought temporary reassignment from the Texas Air National Guard to an Alabama unit but for six months did not show up for training. He signed on as an official in the losing campaign of a Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, and even there he left few impressions other than as an amiable bachelor with a good tennis game and a famous father.
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