Being Controlled By Events v. Abdication

Annie

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The clock is ticking:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/11/bush_defers_to_generals_iraq_s.html

Bush Defers to Generals, Iraq Slides Into Chaos
By Rich Lowry

Is President Bush still the nation's commander in chief? Yes, he continues to return the salute when boarding Marine One, but it's a role he sometimes seems on the verge of abdicating.

He has left the question of troop levels in Iraq to the generals on the ground. Gen. George W. Casey Jr. told Bush a few months ago that they would wait and see how Iraq looked after Ramadan, which ended in late October. Well, Iraq looked worse. Now the administration seems to want to wait to see the conclusions of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group or one of its internal reviews of Iraq policy before making any new departures. In the meantime, Iraq looks still worse. As the administration waits, Iraq burns.

Bush has been at the mercy of events in Iraq. Perhaps that's forgivable. Even Abra- ham Lincoln famously confessed, ''Events have controlled me.'' What's less understandable is being controlled by other people's advice. Bush has been presiding over the Iraq War for three years, and he really has no better ideas than might bubble up from his national-security council or from an Iraq Study Group including the likes of Sandra Day O'Connor and Vernon Jordan about how to prosecute the war?

If press reports are to be believed, the grand idea of the Baker-Hamilton Group is start a regional dialogue including Iran and Syria. This recom- mendation is hopefulness disguised as hardheadedness. It seems admirably tough-minded to be willing to talk to your odious adversaries, but it is wishful thinking to believe that anything useful to American strategic interests can come of it. So long as we are in a downward slide in the Iraq War, Iran and Syria only have an incentive to keep pushing us down and out.


The administration will never find its strategic footing unless it manages to improve the security situation in Iraq, which is the linchpin to political progress there and the key to the geopolitics of the region. Talking to Syria and Iran might hold a slim hope of accomplishing something if we weren't losing a major war in their backyards.

For all the studying and reviewing, there are only two real options in Iraq: to stabilize the country enough that the democratic government survives or to manage our withdrawal and defeat. Every day that passes without us doing the former increases the momentum for the latter. A few more months of the current deterioration and Democrats will - despite their current disavowals - seek to cut off funding for the war and will pay no political price for it because Republicans will have abandoned the war, too.

Another hot bipartisan idea is to threaten the Iraqi government with our imminent departure to pressure it to perform. But the Iraqis don't need a demarche telling them we might leave, since it is obvious. The whiff of American retreat isn't improving conditions on the ground, but worsening them as everyone prepares for what will be the full-blown civil war in our absence.

The way to improve security in the near term is to increase the only force in the country that is even-handed and competent - America's. It has been obvious for a long time that Iraq needs more U.S. forces, but Bush has never ordered it, because he has been determined to defer to his generals no matter what. Unfortunately, the best generals can be wrong.

Bush simply has failed to run his war.
Historian Eliot Cohen describes how, in contrast, the best American wartime president conducted himself: ''Lincoln had not merely to select his generals, but to educate, train and guide them. To this end he believed that he had to master the details of war, from the technology to the organization and movement of armies, if only to enable himself to make informed judgments about general officers.''

Bush has taken the opposite approach and - for all his swagger and protectiveness of executive prerogatives - is becoming a disturbing study in lassitude in the executive branch.
 

Gunny

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If allowing Syria and Iran foothold on the legit level is the Baker-Hamilton suggestion, they have some screws loose.

The comparison to Lincoln is crap, except maybe how the MSM treated him. Lincoln fancied himself a military strategist. He was not. He came by the main two generals that basically won the war by attrition. That being said, the generals he had to choose from initially were mostly political appointees.

Note also that the Civil War was won by the North by basically killing most able-bodied Southerners, and razing the land, and subjugating the South to the North.

A strategy that would have the libs and America-haters doing backflips in the streets with the MSM supporting them.
 
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Annie

Annie

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If allowing Syria and Iran foothold on the legit level is the Baker-Hamilton suggestion, they have some screws loose.

The comparison to Lincoln is crap, except maybe how the MSM treated him. Lincoln fancied himself a military strategist. He was not. He came by the main two generals that basically won the war by attrition. That being said, the generals he had to choose from initially were mostly political appointees.

Note also that the Civil War was won by the North by basically killing most able-bodied Southerners, and razing the land, and subjugating the South to the North.

A strategy that would have the libs and America-haters doing backflips in the streets with the MSM supporting them.
Baker-Hamilton:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_go_ot/us_iraq

Panel reaches deal on U.S. Iraq policy

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 16 minutes ago

A bipartisan commission, under pressure to offer a U.S. exit strategy for the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq, has reached a consensus and will announce its recommendations next week, the group's co-chairman said Wednesday.

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., declined to disclose any specifics about the Iraq Study Group's decisions. The report, much anticipated by the Bush administration and members of Congress, is coming out next Wednesday amid the spiraling violence in Iraq that has raised questions about the viability of the Iraqi government.

"This afternoon, we reached a consensus ... and we will announce that on December 6," Hamilton told a forum on national security at the Center for American Progress, a liberal group.

"We're making recommendations," said Hamilton, who led the group with former Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

Defense officials, meantime, said the Pentagon is developing plans to send four more battalions to Iraq early next year, including some to Baghdad.

The extra combat engineer battalions of Army reserves, would total about 3,500 troops and would come from around the United States, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deployments have not been announced.

President Bush is under growing pressure to withdraw substantial numbers of U.S. troops while shifting more responsibility to the Iraqi government. Even so, top military commanders have said they would consider increasing U.S. troop levels, at least temporarily, if they deemed it necessary.

Bush said Tuesday he would not withdraw American forces "until the mission is complete."

The study group is expected to recommend regional talks involving Syria and Iran. The administration has been reluctant to engage those two countries, which it says have abetted the violence in Iraq...
 

Bonnie

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If we walk away from Iraq I'm about willing to rethink glockmail's suggestion that another civil war HERE might not hurt.
Who would make up each side?? I might be interested :)
 

Gunny

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Who would make up each side?? I might be interested :)
Obviously there is a big rift between the left and right, based on opposing ideology. While it's been said before when I low-rated liberals that I was wrong and they'd fight, I'll take my chances. The wimps and cut-n-runners all seem to be on THEIR side.

But, who knows? maybe they'll enlist the aid of their current allies, the Islamofascists?:confused:
 
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Annie

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Obviously there is a big rift between the left and right, based on opposing ideology. While it's been said before when I low-rated liberals that I was wrong and they'd fight, I'll take my chances. The wimps and cut-n-runners all seem to be on THEIR side.

But, who knows? maybe they'll enlist the aid of their current allies, the Islamofascists?:confused:
"Empire"

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765316110?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwviolentkicom&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0765316110[/ame]

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Right-wing rhetoric trumps the logic of story and character in this near-future political thriller about a red-state vs. blue-state American civil war, an implausibly plotted departure from Card's bestselling science fiction (Ender's Game, etc.). When the president and vice-president are killed by domestic terrorists (of unknown political identity), a radical leftist army calling itself the Progressive Restoration takes over New York City and declares itself the rightful government of the United States. Other blue states officially recognize the legitimacy of the group, thus starting a second civil war. Card's heroic red-state protagonists, Maj. Reuben "Rube" Malek and Capt. Bartholomew "Cole" Coleman, draw on their Special Ops training to take down the extremist leftists and restore peace to the nation. The action is overshadowed by the novel's polemical message, which Card tops off with an afterword decrying his own politically-motivated exclusion from various conventions and campuses, the "national media elite" and the divisive excesses of both the right and the left.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Gunny

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Annie

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Wow. Somebody takes this seriously. I really would hate to engage in combat against other Americans. But I WILL support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I see the libs as subversive to the ideals and laws that this country and the Constitution are derived from.
I've seen way too many advocating such. I just assume they somehow got a romanticized version of the Civil War?

Here is a take on the discussions of that book:

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=112906B

A Second American Civil War?
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds : 29 Nov 2006


Is America in danger of civil war? Not immediately, perhaps, but famed science fiction writer Orson Scott Card thinks that we're in enough danger that he's authored a cautionary tale entitled Empire that's set in more-or-less present times.

In Card's novel, which is straight thriller fiction a la Jack Bauer rather than the science fiction for which Card is generally known, shadowy forces use terror and assassination to trigger a civil war in an America sharply divided along Red/Blue lines. In the Afterword, Card writes:

"Rarely do people set out to start a civil war. Invariably, when such wars break out both sides consider themselves to be the aggrieved ones."

Such is the case now, he notes, when both Left and Right feel threatened by the other side, and unfairly so:


"Can it lead to war? Very simply, yes. The moment one group feels itself so aggrieved that it uses either its own weapons or the weapons of the state to 'prevent' the other side from bringing about its supposed 'evil' designs, then that other side will have no choice but to take up arms against them. Both sides will believe the other to be the instigator . . . . In America today, we are complacent in our belief that it can't happen here."

Well, I certainly don't believe that it can't happen here. Civil war can happen anywhere and, given enough time, usually does. And it happened here once, after all.

I've noted before that one of the great American accomplishments was to get over the Civil War without the kind of lingering bitterness that often marks -- and reignites -- such conflicts elsewhere. And we can, perhaps, thank the ongoing Civil War reminiscence industry for helping to keep the horrors of that war alive in people's memories. Throughout the remainder of the 19th Century, many people feared a reignition of the Civil War, but it didn't happen.

Nonetheless, Card's cautionary tale is worth bearing in mind. Civil wars are, traditionally, among the most bloody, and the hardest to prevent once the ball gets rolling. So what do we do?

One question is "who's 'we' here?" I don't see much of a sign that the American public -- which, after all, overwhelmingly favored centrists in this month's elections -- is as divided as Card suggests. But -- as Card also notes -- the elites are much more divided, and the media tend to play up those divisions, because division and conflict are good story-drivers. ("We live in a time when moderates are treated worse than extremists, being punished as if they were more fanatical than the actual fanatics.") To the "activist" crowd on the left and right, people who don't share their views 100% are evil, and on the other side. This tends to backfire politically, which I think is why the elections favored centrists this time, but that doesn't stop the polarization. In a way, it tends to make it worse.

I think that we're a long way from a civil war. But I also think that Card's right to warn people against too much division, and too little emphasis on our common interests as Americans. While I don't think that we're in danger of a civil war, I do think that our current political system is unhealthy, with polarization serving mostly as a tool for the folks in power to keep their bases in line, while they pursue agendas that are mostly self-serving. I hope that both the people and the press will make some conscious efforts to moderate the tone, and make that approach less effective.
 

Gunny

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I've seen way too many advocating such. I just assume they somehow got a romanticized version of the Civil War?

Here is a take on the discussions of that book:

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=112906B
There is NOTHING romantic about war. It's scarey, brutal, dirty, and gives a whole new meaning to anxiety and insomnia. Then, for those who have a soul (in this area the libs are actually superior having none), there's living with taking another human being's life, or the guilt of losing someone who you are responsible for.

The US Civil War was outright butchery on the military level. Napoleonic tactics in combination with modern weapons. The weapons far outpaced strides in the medical community.

A majority of Americans went into the US Civil War under the same notion of romanticism. The First Battle of Mannassas solved that problem for them, and it was a picnic compared to Shiloh, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Cold Harbor, et al.
 
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Annie

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There is NOTHING romantic about war. It's scarey, brutal, dirty, and gives a whole new meaning to anxiety and insomnia. Then, for those who have a soul (in this area the libs are actually superior having none), there's living with taking another human being's life, or the guilt of losing someone who you are responsible for.

The US Civil War was outright butchery on the military level. Napoleonic tactics in combination with modern weapons. The weapons far outpaced strides in the medical community.

A majority of Americans went into the US Civil War under the same notion of romanticism. The First Battle of Mannassas solved that problem for them, and it was a picnic compared to Shiloh, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Cold Harbor, et al.
You're preaching to the choir on the Civil War. While the end results were better than WWI, it set the table for the carnage--both in technology applied and developed. It's the war to study, to see what the 20th C. would bring, bloodbaths.
 

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You're preaching to the choir on the Civil War. While the end results were better than WWI, it set the table for the carnage--both in technology applied and developed. It's the war to study, to see what the 20th C. would bring, bloodbaths.
WWI was a continuation of the US Civil War. It picked up where we left off --- massive stagnant lines and siege warfare.

The US has won every war the same way it won the US Civil War ... attrition. We had more people and could make more "stuff" than the enemy. And that's what's wrong with this limited warfare stuff.

The mainstream soldier is ill-equipped and trained to play cop. They're trained to win on the battlefield against an organized army and anything in their way gets dead or destroyed. Sitting at a checkpoint waiting on someone to blow up or a sniper to shoot them from concealment is NOT what they are trained to do.
 
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Annie

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WWI was a continuation of the US Civil War. It picked up where we left off --- massive stagnant lines and siege warfare.

The US has won every war the same way it won the US Civil War ... attrition. We had more people and could make more "stuff" than the enemy. And that's what's wrong with this limited warfare stuff.

The mainstream soldier is ill-equipped and trained to play cop. They're trained to win on the battlefield against an organized army and anything in their way gets dead or destroyed. Sitting at a checkpoint waiting on someone to blow up or a sniper to shoot them from concealment is NOT what they are trained to do.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but other than the Civil War we made sure that those participating in the attrition were not us? A very good idea, indeed. We could use that 'win' mentality now.
 

Gunny

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but other than the Civil War we made sure that those participating in the attrition were not us? A very good idea, indeed. We could use that 'win' mentality now.
Yes and no. Basically, we had more manpower and materiel than the enemy and just outlasted them; which, was EXACTLY the case during the US Civil War. The North had an unlimited supply of manpower and industry to support them. The South did not. While the South could compete in those areas, the North couldn't win a battle.

Compared to operation Overlord, or Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Okinawa .... same strategy. We had more, and could thrown fresh forces and weapons at an exhausted enemy.

That isn't taking away from the individual American fighting man nor anything they accomplished. It is one strategy for winning a war, and most don't consider it.

We have become increasingly incapable of waging such a war; especially, in our dependence on foreign imports, most notably oil, with honorable mention to our "joint ventures" in weapons.
 
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Annie

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Yes and no. Basically, we had more manpower and materiel than the enemy and just outlasted them; which, was EXACTLY the case during the US Civil War. The North had an unlimited supply of manpower and industry to support them. The South did not. While the South could compete in those areas, the North couldn't win a battle.

Compared to operation Overlord, or Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Okinawa .... same strategy. We had more, and could thrown fresh forces and weapons at an exhausted enemy.

That isn't taking away from the individual American fighting man nor anything they accomplished. It is one strategy for winning a war, and most don't consider it.

We have become increasingly incapable of waging such a war; especially, in our dependence on foreign imports, most notably oil, with honorable mention to our "joint ventures" in weapons.
I agree with the Civil War, but we used the population rich USSR to take a great number of casualties, leaving far further Germans at other battles.

Okinawa and Guadalcanal, were nothing to sneeze at, the loses were horrendous. We won by dropping the technology beyond Japan, a very good thing. They should have capitulated from the get go, certainly after the first. They didn't. Bad choice. We weren't willing to go for attrition here, we still would have won, but too high.
 

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I agree with the Civil War, but we used the population rich USSR to take a great number of casualties, leaving far further Germans at other battles.

Yes and no. The USSR used the exact same strategy to an extreme. That's the whole "Hitler/The Third Reich might STILL control Europe had Hitler not attacked Russia" argument.

But we really didn't "let" the Russians take the casualties. We were in no position to do anything for Russia until we did.

Okinawa and Guadalcanal, were nothing to sneeze at, the loses were horrendous. We won by dropping the technology beyond Japan, a very good thing. They should have capitulated from the get go, certainly after the first. They didn't. Bad choice. We weren't willing to go for attrition here, we still would have won, but too high.
The Battle for Tarawa is STILL the single bloodiest day of combat in Marine Corps history. The Marines took 3K+ casualties in 4 days. Out of 4700 Japanese, 17 survived. Note to President Bush: THAT is how it's done.

Actually, the Japanese not capitulating was a victory for them. The held out until we agreed to "unconditional" surrender except that Hirohito would remain as Emperor and not be tried for any crimes. They would and DID gladly sacrifice a city and its populace for that.
 
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Annie

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The Battle for Tarawa is STILL the single bloodiest day of combat in Marine Corps history. The Marines took 3K+ casualties in 4 days. Out of 4700 Japanese, 17 survived. Note to President Bush: THAT is how it's done.

Actually, the Japanese not capitulating was a victory for them. The held out until we agreed to "unconditional" surrender except that Hirohito would remain as Emperor and not be tried for any crimes. They would and DID gladly sacrifice a city and its populace for that.
Hey, in no way was I trying to denigrate or mitigate the sacrifices of US troops in WWII or any other war. What I was saying, in wars where the US was determined to win, there was a willingness to allow for wins, losses, and draws. Those that participated were applauded and the loses morned.

Now, 1 death makes the cause untenable, that's today. It's way wrong.
 

Avatar4321

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If we walk away from Iraq I'm about willing to rethink glockmail's suggestion that another civil war HERE might not hurt.
Oh it will hurt... but i think its quickly going to become inevitable.
 

Gunny

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Hey, in no way was I trying to denigrate or mitigate the sacrifices of US troops in WWII or any other war. What I was saying, in wars where the US was determined to win, there was a willingness to allow for wins, losses, and draws. Those that participated were applauded and the loses morned.

Now, 1 death makes the cause untenable, that's today. It's way wrong.
I understand, and I agree. No matter what we did, if the Army itself isn't into the fight, winning would be in doubt. What I attempted to do a couple of posts ago was differentiate between the American fighting man, and the strategies they are a part of.

There is NOTHING so deadly as a Marine and his rifle.
 

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