Monday, November 28, 2005

It's not 1969, and it's not Viet Nam

There are some interesting points here from Instapundit. My favorite is that this is the "reverse Viet Nam." The military is not sugarcoating things, but is instead giving the unvarnished truth. The problem with that is that it is taken out of context for political purposes.
I have said before, that Iraq is not the same as Viet Nam for a multitude of reasons. Those who argue that Iraq is Viet Nam are either arguing from a point of strategic ignorance or from a political standpoint that wants to reinforce a sense of self defeat.
Just saying that Iraq is Viet Nam all over again is not enough. Show me the strategic similarities, the objective information that supports the argument. I would refer you to my argument here as a starting point. Feel free to point out any errors I made.
The only similarity between 1969 and Viet Nam with today and Iraq, is that there is a certain amount of narcism that comes from those who seek the downfall of their own government, even if it means harm to their own nation.

Lying Liars

Ever since the New York Times put their columnists behind a pay to read barrier, I have not actually gotten to their opinions. However, the Sun does a heck of a job of discrediting Mr. Rich of the NYT as he attempts to discredit Bush.
It kind of reminded my of yesterday's Sunday news shows where Sen. Levin was saying that Bush said something that wasn't true, and the host showed the film clip of what Levin was talking about and Bush never said what Levin claimed. When confronted, Levin insisted that it was true, even though he had just been shown that it was false.
The willingness to believe Bush lied has overridden even plain evidence, but Bush still needs to worry because their lies are still having a certain effect as shown by opinion polls.
Sad state of affairs, where one group while lying can accuse another of lying, and have it stick.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Self delusion and urban myths

The above link says that Tony Blair is disputing that Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera. This is interesting in why it came about more than anything else. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, i.e. Bush is stupid and hates Arabs, therefore, it is believeable that he would want to do that, therefore it is true.
Of course, this goes along with the many urban legends that arose around the conduct of the war. Like all good urban legends, the willingness to believe takes over the abiltiy to discern the truth.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

An Iraqi perspective

I have always liked the Iraq the Model blog, but I have come to think that he may be too rah rah to be necessarily accurate. Not that I think that he is not telling the truth, but that it may be a truth that he wants, causing him to overlook contadictory evidence. That being said, his analysis of the call for a withdrawl is very interesting. It is also interesting that he says that anyone who speaks up for keeping Coalition troops in Iraq would be branded a collaborator.
There is also an interesting explanation for the upcoming elections in how the seats will be parcelled out.
Well worth the read, if for nothing more than another perspective.

This is sick!

This sort of behavior is why I don't call them an insurgency. There is no reason to do this that accomplishes any military advantage. These are some sick f*cks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On end state Iraq

How do yu know if you have completed your journey unless you know where you are going? One of the things that I have noticed that is not being discussed in all of the noise about immediate withdrawl, is what is the actual vision of what we are trying to accomplish there, and how will we know when we have accomplished it.
I have written in the past about potential problems of leaving too early. But what is that we would want if we had the capability to define and implement our goals?
So, here is a scenario to consider. After December 15th, a new Iraqi parliament is elected, and Bush and the allies start to negotiate our withdrawl from Iraq. The new Iraqi government will have a significant amount of Shias who may have some interest in aligning their interests with Iran, but as long as Al Sistani wants to keep his distance from Iran, which he has maintained for quite some time, they will not allow Iraq to become a vassal to Iran.
The Iraqi "insurgency" starts to wind down, with the assumption of authority by an independent Iraqi government. Foreign fighters start to slow down in migrating there because they are getting less support. Zarqawi, continues to play dead, albeit with a new moniker in order to camoflage his past excesses, but he will continue to target the Shias, with little effect except to piss off all of the Iraqis no matter what their religious affiliation.
The new Iraqi government wants to be able to demonstrate their independence from us, and insists on the bulk of the forces be wthdrawn by the end of 2006. We agree, but we want to maintain a force of one heavy armored division to assist the new Iraqi army if need be, This would probably be split into 3 areas, with a brigade equivalent in each base, probably somewhere in the Anbar province, and one aviation brigade to supply helicopter lift and Apache Quick Reaction Forces to support Iraqi forces. We would probably also want to have the equivalent of a Special Forces Group (around 1500 men) to assist in the final training of the Iraqi army, although that may be turned over to civilian contractors, just to keep the troop numbers down.
In addition to the one division equivalent, we would probably also want to keep a POMCUS (Preposition of Material Configured to Unit Sets) of another division in the area, so that we could also flow in troops without having to move the equipment to the theater.
The American forces would continue to train in the open desert, away from population areas, but would be available to assist the Iraqi Army on an as needed basis, while at the same time partnering with newer Iraqi battalions as they come out of training.
We would probably also need to have at least one air base, predominantly supporting A-10s which would also be used in support of the Iraqi army and work with training up a new Iraqi air force.
Money for training the new Iraqi forces is going to come from us for the next 2-3 years, since if we are paying for it, we want to be able to have some control over how it is spent. Training will need to continue developing the junior leadership of the NCOs and LTs to LTCs who will be doing the bulk of the self defense. We want to emphasize the allegiance to the Iraqi people over the government, with self discipline and integrity being something that is non-negotiable.
The end result will be around 20,000 American troops in Iraq, which would be about an 80% reduction, which will help to stabilize the government, train the military, and be able to respond to any terrorist threats that are beyond the Iraqi army's immediate capability.
So, that is my theory, anyone else?

Monday, November 21, 2005

On how to lose the war

Ralph Peters is a much better writer than I am, but his cogent analysis is one that I agree with and explains better what I have been trying to say here for the last few days.
It is perhaps unfair to some Democrats, since I do not think that they are all seeking political advantage at the expense of our foriegn policy. Some may be sincere pacifists who abhor all violence. My problem with pacifism, is that if your enemy lacks a shred of morality, your only option is to surrender and suffer the consequences. I do not find that approach acceptable.
However, there do seem to be too many that I perceive to only be seeking political advantage domestically, while conceding it in foreign policy. Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe it really is principled opposition. It sure doesn't look that way though.
I guess to show that their opposition is not just for short term advantage, I wold wish that someone would give me their analysis as to what the future would be like in the Middle East if we did withdraw. Peters already has above, I wold like one just as clear from the opponents side.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

On a witdrawl from Iraq

Matt at Left in the West has been in suport of Murtha, and has left some intelligent comments here. I left one at his site and as I was writing it, I came to the awareness of what our problem is. We are Americans trying to solve an Iraqi problem.
As Americans, we tend to want to solve the problem as quickly and expeditiously as possible. My experience in the Middle East has led me to believe that they do not follow the same way of thinking as we do. Not to say better or worse, just different. It seemd to me that so much of problem solving revolved around relatives, tribes, old grudges, protocol, tradition, etc. Everything but what we thought was the problem. I still do not think that their system worked, but maybe it was because I lacked the perspective of 4000 years.
But the thing that came to mind was about a future withdrawl from Iraq. Why doesn't the Iraqi government set the withdrawl? They are the ones who after December 15th will be in full control of their country. Let them decide how and when we are to leave. If problems arise, they can change the schedule. If things go better than expected, we can get out even earlier.
Seems to me to be one of those "Win - Win" situations. But then, what do I know, I am just an American trying to solve a problem.

A letter from Iraq

"You weren't there, so how would you know?" is the common way to shut up an argument by an opponenet. There are many examples: Chickenhawks, neo-cons, etc. However, here is someone who has been there twice, and is there right now.
You cannot dismiss it out of hand, because his presence ensures his credibility to a greater degree than any other argument can.
Before we surrender, let's listen to those who are there. The fact that he is an NCO and not an officer seems to extend his credibility, since he is less likely to be politically correct, but speak the truth as he knows it.
Give it a read.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

How I was wrong about Rep. Murtha

One of the tactics I use with a hostile witness is to get them angry. They quickly become less sympathetic with the jury, and I of course, am only trying to find the truth, while I manipulate their anger.
I got angry with Murtha for the wrong reasons. Murtha does go to Walter Reed and visit the wounded, and his call for withdrawl was probably based on seeing the carnage that comes with modern warfare. His call for an immediate withdrawl however, was probably based more on his emotional interactions than that required of a senior political leader of our country.
His assertion that the troops have become the enemy and the catalyst for the insurgency/terrorists is wrong though. As proof, I would offer that we had no troops in the two mosques that were bombed just yesterday. This is not, as Matt would say just a reaction to our presence. This is in fact, a civil war. For proof, I would offer that the Kurdish regions, and the southern Shiite regions are relatively stable. It is mostly in the Sunni central region, where the majority of our troops are located, that the insurgency/terrorist attacks are coming out of. The fact that the Kurds and Shiites have not responded in kind is nothing short of a miracle.
But the key issue still remains, what are we doing there, and when will it end. I am suspicious of Democrats who are calling for the immediate withdrawl, since I find them less than credible in their concerns for the troops, and more willing to believe that they see a political opportunity to exploit that could adversely affect our nation in the region.
Let's examine what would happen if there was an immediate withdrawl as called for by Murtha. The fledgling government will probably self destruct resulting in even greater anarchy than already exists, and would remove all hope for improvement that is at least a possibility for right now. It certainly will not get better or stronger. Our enemies (and they are numerous in the region) will read this as confirmation that our will to persevere is subject to failure whenever there is a long drawn out confrontation. So as long as they can outlast us, they will always win. This will unnecessarily embolden them, and lead to future problems in the area as they doubt our ability to intervene against them.
Now, let's see what happens if we stay. The trick here is going to be the improvement in the Iraqi Army and police forces, which we are continuing to do. They will expand their presence and their actions, allowing us to retreat to a backup role, thereby reducing the opportunity to attack us. The Iraqi forces will then be able to secure cooperation from the locals that we are unable to do, and will make even more progress in rolling up the terror cells.
So, how are we doing with the improvement in training the Iraqi Army? Much has been made of the fact that we went from 3 battalions rated C1 to only 1. What most people don't realize is that this is a simple and practical example of how the system really is improving. Even in our own military, a unit is almost never rated C1 until it is right before deployment. As soon as it gets into the fight, it drops down to C2. This is nothing more than an admission that once combat hits, you are always going to be short of something.
We are making progress, and the mission is getting done. Conceding defeat is not something that the American military ever does willingly. Our leaders, including Rep. Murtha would be wise to look to their example and follow it.
The good news for the Democrats is going to be that in 2006 the troops are going to be coming home anyway. After December 15th, there will have been three elections in Iraq, and the beginning of an actual Iraqi government. The training of the Iraqi Army will allow us to withdraw to our Forward Operating Bases and reduce our presence on the street. This will reduce the justification of those opposed to us as "occupiers" and allow for more stability and the eventual removal of US forces from the region.
Politics it used to be said stops at the water's edge. Today it seems, it can't even make it across the Potomac. With the vote of 403-3 against setting a timetable for immediate removal of US forces, I am hopeful that everyone will just settle down, and let the course of events take place that will allow what everyone wants to happen.

Update I have been reading Kagan's book "Imperial Grunts" and came across a line that seems so appropriate here: The politicians looked at the rules of engagement as a means to protect the soldiers. The soldiers looked at the rules of engagement as a lack of political will, which only makes their job superflous at best and dangerous at worst. The funny thing is, both are right.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Great Minds?

You have to scroll through a lot of Kerry rambling, but it is amazing and amusing to think that Osama bin Laden and Al Gore have so much in common.

Update. Just for fun, I ran the Dailect converter for Redneck. What a hoot, you need to give it a try.

Withdrawl from Iraq

This is a great analysis, and the speech by Sen. McCain was absolutely brilliant.
We are faced with the prospect of defeat, even though our enemies have not achieved victory, but our internal dissension has created the conditions to prevent victory. I know that Congressman Murtha is once again claiming defeat, and because he is a retired Marine, the news gives him more credibility than someone who wants to perservere. Of course, his statement is nothing new.
I think that the real problem in this war is our American temperment. We are an impatient group who lack any sense of history or perspective. Bush said that it would be a long hard fought struggle, and he is once again right. But the general American perception is that the Iraqis are not responding in a way that we want them to. Our problem is that we have never had to live with the daily fear that comes from living in a police state. The Iraqi people had learned that anyone who stuck out drew attention, and usually in a way that they did not want to. Saddam used to execute his most effective generals during the Iran Iraq war because if they were successful, he perceived them as a threat. Probably rightly so.
We are trying to get people who learned to shun initiative and responsibility to now do what they had learned was deadly to try. Meanwhile, we sit here in the safety of our comfy worlds and Monday morning quarterback every jot and tittle.

Monday, November 14, 2005

On Talk Radio

Rather amusing take on the reason for the rise and the effecitiveness of talk radio, although in my experience, I think that he misses some pretty valid points. As I had mentioned in earlier posts, I had an office mate who was the head of the Junior NAACP in Europe. About that time, the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) was looking to put Rush Limbaugh on the air for those of us in Europe. Now, at that time, I had never heard of Rush, so I was curious to hear what the fuss was about. Eventually after much gnashing of teeth, he was given one hour of taped delay starting at 10 at night. Anyway, getting back to my office mate, he told me that Rush was just an "entertainer."
Later, on leave in the US, I heard a whole Rush show, and found him amusing, although at the time, I really objected to his telling me what to think. Apparently, he has stopped doing this. I told my office mate that I thought that Rush doesn't entertain, that it is more than that. Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that what Rush does is not issue marching orders, he simply enunciates and validates what the listeners already feel. The other thing that was interesting about his show, (remember, that this is 1992) was the interaction between him and his listeners. You have to remember, this was in the era before the Internet became quite so ubiqtuous. Instead of screaming at a TV or a radio in impotent frustration, you could actually be heard across the country. Your 30 seconds of fame. His listeners tended to raise issues that I had not considered before, and never heard on the MSM.
Does this mean that it is nothing more than the revolt of the "angry white males" as the election of 1994 was called. I don't think so. What it is, is really people expressing their feelings who had been told for quite a while "Shut up White Boy." and they had come to resent the racism and sexism that did not address their concerns.
Those on the Left who abhor Talk radio are making a mistake. In a way, I suppose that it is understandable that they would resent some media outside of their control that is so widely listened to and discussed. You are far more likely to find a conversation about what Rush, Hannity, Laura, etc said, than what Schieffer, Williams or whoever took over from Jennings said.
I have listened to Air America, but find it frustrating, in that they are the very charachature of what they accuse Right Talk Radio of being.
I've got to admit, that I do enjoy this experiment in the mix of media and democracy.

Bush Derangement Syndrome

Sorry that I haven't been posting for a while, but I had to have an extra hole added to my head, and the effects of general anethesia take a while to wear off.
But this link above by a psychologist, explains better than anything else why so many people hate Bush, and why the meme that Bush lied about pre-war intelligence has gotten so much traction.
Some good quotes:
This psychological defense mechanism is referred to as "displacement".

One way you can usually tell that an individual is using displacement is that the emotion being displaced (e.g., anger) is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The purpose of displacement is to avoid having to cope with the actual reality. Instead, by using displacement, an individual is able to still experience his or her anger, but it is directed at a less threatening target than the real cause. In this way, the individual does not have to be responsible for the consequences of his/her anger and feels more safe--even thought that is not the case.

This explains the remarkable and sometimes lunatic appeasement of Islamofascists by so many governments and around the world, while they trash the US and particularly Bush. It explains why there is more emphasis on protecting the "rights" of terrorists, rather than holding them accountable for their actions (thier actions, by the way are also Bush's fault, according to those in the throes of BDS). Our soldiers in Iraq are being killed because of Bush--not because of terrorist intent and behavior. Terrorist activity itself is blamed on Bush no matter where it occurs.

Bush becomes the "criminal mastermind", so devious, so evil, that everything he says is a "lie", everything he does is part of a vast global consipiracy. His family has intimate ties to Bin Laden and the Saudis; He is trying to enrich his oil business friends; He is trying to avenge the insult to his father by getting rid of Saddam; He plans world domination etc. etc. I could go on an on, but you get the point.

What is most funny is that these psychologically naiive individuals simultaneously think of Bush as this "criminal mastermind"--a genius of evil; and also as a complete moron who isn't capable of uttering a sentence without making a hash of it; or that his brain is controlled by the equally evil Karl Rove.

The cognitive dissonance required to have all these contradictory beliefs swirling around in one's brain is astonishing. But besides the primary function it serves to erase from consciousness what is happening in the world today, it is serving a secondary purpose--it makes them feel in control of what might come.

They can predict with the complete accuracy of the delusional mind that whatever happens--whatever horror is unleased by Al Qaeda or Hamas or Islamic Jihad--was caused by President Bush's actions/inactions/intentions (take your pick).

and finally:
As I said at the beginning of this piece, those who are mindful and deliberate in their attacks and are using them for personal political gain; or to advance a totalitarian agenda are simply evil.

I have not questioned anyone's patriotism before, but I have had enough of Senators Rockefeller and Kennedy saying that Bush manipulated intel prior to the war and withheld contradictory information. Rockefeller in particular should know better. All intel is contradictory, the trick is to try and sift through all the chaff and find the nuggets that are real. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Rockefeller had all of the access to intel that the Bush administration had. In 2002, Rockefeller was even more strident than Bush about the threat that was posed by Saddam's Iraq. Now, Rockefeller is saying that it was none of his fault.
Even going so far as in this exchange to say:
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


WALLACE: You're not?
Trading temporary partisan advantage for personal integrity is bad enough. Trading national security by declaring that we are defeated for political advantage is Unpatriotic. There, I said it. I am not saying that everyone who disagrees with the war is unpatriotic, just those who know better, and are seeking to assist our enemies in order to capture more seats for their side are.

Monday, November 07, 2005

On Demagoguery

Interesting take here on the differences between those who seek victimhood, and those who do not. It helps to explain a lot of what is going on.
Now I know my problem. I do not feel helpless.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Impeach Bush?

Matt at Left in the West references a poll that shows that 52% of the American people want Bush impeached about lying to get us into war.
Without going into the methodologies, questions, etc. that make a possible poll like this suspect, the interesting thing is that Matt links to it. But here are my questions for Matt: 1. What is exactly a "lie" does it differ from a mistake? and; 2. What evidence if any do you or anyone else have that shows that he did lie?
Don't tell me that he hyped the threat. He seems to have relied on the same evidence that Clinton used in 1998. Are people saying that somehow, Saddam got rid of all of his weapons in the five year period he was out from under supervision?
I still haven't seen any evidence that any intelligence was "massaged" out of context, or to make it absolutely false. And don't cite to the Downing Street memo, because of the differences in the English language between us and the originators.
Goebbels said that if you tell a lie long enough, it will become the truth. Is telling everyone that Bush lied an example of this? If so, then, I guess I will have to surrender, and the anti Bush folks can have the country they will have created for themselves.
Nah, as long as I am breathing, I still have to fight for some measure of truth.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Tony Snow's Recap

I like Tony Snow, and often listen to him on my drive to work. He is far more polite, and never as perpetually enraged as Limbaugh, Hannity, Randi Rhodes, Here, he does a really good recap of the issues of the Plame kerfluffle. What is really good though, is his use of the term "the manipulation of ignorance." The Democrats of late, seemed to be so intent on the destruction of any chance that Bush has for re-election, that they seem to have lost their collective minds.
What I annot figure out, is the idea that Bush and Cheney managed to change intelligence. I thought that teh Senate Committee on Intelligence interviewed 250 analysts, and not one said they were pressured, cajoled or even urged to change their findings. How can Bush be accused of manipulating intelligence, when almost everyone agreed with the basic premise? Now, some, such as Mr. Chait above, seem to say that Bush ignored evidence that tended to disprove his assertion about WMDs. Probably true, but so what? Every issue will have someone who disagrees with what the majority believes for whatever reason. Does this mean that they have an instant veto over every issue?
Even assuming that they were able to present their evidence in a coherent fashion, the problem is that they were arguing a negative. Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.

More CIA questions

As I had mentioned here, there were a lot of quirky things about the CIA role in the Plame Kerfluffle. This link above, indicates that there is even more to worry about then I had thought.
I would relly like to know what the heck is going on at Langley.

Revolving Robes

So, the prosecutor is not happy to have a judge who gives money to the GOP? What a hoot. Under the ABA rules of Professionalism, a prosecutor is supposed "to seek justice" not just prosecutions. I think that Ronny Earle has just set himself up for a bona fide ethics complaint.
Eventually, won't they run out of judges who have contributed to one party or the other? Then what?

Why Libby will never be convicted

The WSJ has an opinion about the problems for the press with the prosecution of Scooter Libby. I think that it will go even beyond what they are saying. As a defense lawyer, I would want to tie up the courts by arguing that I need everybody's notes who had even heard of Valerie Plame. Of course, all of the press services will go to bat to try and protect their work product, but that doesn't rate nearly as high as the right to a vigorous defense, and courts are going to have to order that they turn over all of their notes.
Then, the defense comes down to examining three reporters recollections of conversations versus someone who is a defendant. That should be a real hoot. "What do you mean Mr. Russert, that you didn't take dictation of the conversation, instead of just jotting down some notes? Are you sure that your notes accurately reflect what you and Mr. Libby talked about? Or has it been colored by your subsequent testimony before the Grand Inquisitor, I mean Special Prosecutor?"
Then too, I would want to be going after the CIA at the same time. Why did Valerie Plame's husband go to Niger? Why was he not required to file a written report? Why was he not required to sign a non-disclosure agreement? Who in the CIA authorized the trip? Who actually did leak the name of Valeri Plame, and was she ever covert?
And all the while you know that Karl Rove's lawyers are gathering all of the information to assist in their defense.
It sure is fun watching energetic stupidity at work.