As we watch poor Louisiana wallow in misery, I am moved to point out two things. (1) that there are eerily predictive passages about New Orleans in my novel EARTH... and (2) here’s the first state to face a major civil emergency while much of its National Guard has been yanked away to some foreign land.
This is yet another way to view the foolishness of our leaders. Their inability to really consider that the world is dangerous. Here’s a way to put it: the metaphor for this Iraq War should be ELECTIVE SURGERY.
At first, we were urgently told it was an EMERGENCY ROOM PROCEDURE, back during the lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction. No time to talk, or plan or persuade allies, or ponder the most efficient means of achieving desired ends. If we did not act fast, Saddam would fry our babies!
See: Wars of Emergency vs Wars of Policy
Now we are told that reason never mattered, after all. The real purpose was always to liberate oppressed people and spread freedom.
Yes, I happen to be one of the few war critics who AGREE with that motive! (In fact, I feel we were morally obligated to free the people of Iraq from a monster that we fostered long ago, and that these same morons left in charge, way back in 91, when they had him in the palm of their hands. In effect, they told Saddam - “go ahead and do whatever you like to these people who trusted us to come rescue them.” It was the worst stain on our honor in 100 years.)
Indeed, I actually agree with the backup excuse. Yes indeedy, let’s spread freedom by toppling Saddam.
Still, there is a fundamental distinction that NONE of our pundits pointed out. This worthy goal was no emergency. We could have taken our time and come up with a calm, skilled, clever plan, relying upon skilled professionals who had already proved themselves in the Balkans and Afghanistan...
... a plan that did NOT involve rampant poitical meddling and graft, dividing a great nation, spurning allies, ripping reservists away from jobs and families and pouring billions down a rathole of grinding insurgency-attrition while failing utterly at nation building. With the only winners being the Saudfamily and Iran.
(Hey, go check out the readiness of your own state’s national guard. Then imagine your state’s vulnerabilities. We Californians get quakes, not subject to global warming. How poetical that the South will be ravaged by climate change induced storms.)
Afghanistan was urgent... an emergency room procedure... and yet, a plan was already in place. W had only time to shout “go!” and the same doctrines that Wesley Clarke used in Kosovo went into smooth operation. The urgent operation went well... and the elective surgery has turned into a nightmare as we bleed on the table because of wretched planning and politician-meddling.
Sigh. And now, meanwhile, back to the Great Purge...
See: The Real War of G.W. Bush : Against the U.S. Military
Army Contract Official Critical of Halliburton Pact Is Demoted A top Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was demoted Saturday for what the Army called poor job performance. The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, has worked in military procurement for 20 years and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq. ...
Ms. Greenhouse's lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action an "obvious reprisal" for the strong objections she raised in 2003 to a series of corps decisions involving the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, which has garnered more than $10 billion for work in Iraq. Dick Cheney led Halliburton, which is based in Texas, before he became vice president.
see a couple places where moderates have proposed alternatives to the current "stay the course" vs. "cut and run" dichotomy. Both seem reasonable and are
probably compatible -- both could be done simultaneously.They are:
"The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government"
and "How to Win in Iraq"
These articles make sense... and they won't be implemented because the goal of the involvement in Iraq has never been success at nation building. Yes, that is officially our purpose now that there are no WMD and no Saddam. But Cheney and Rumsfeld both famously expressed contempt for "nation building" long ago and their disbelief in it still shows.
No, there are only two possible classes of hypothesis to explain such a disaster. (* Kool-aid alert! Paranoia riff about to resume! * ;-)
Hypothesis 1. Incompetence. These are moronic frat boys, using the United States and our military as personal toys. The calamity is not what was intended. It is just what happens when skilled professionals - first diplomats and then military officers - are relentlessly over-ruled by meddling politician imbecilles bent on playing war and stealing everything in sight.
Hypothesis 2. What you see is what was planned. This explanation looks utterly paranoid and I am the only one suggesting it. And that means I must disclaim that it is formally what I BELIEVE to be true. Yes, yes. Brin’s Fantasy. But it IS logically the other side of the coin. My excuse is that I am a completist and must include it.
Still, let me repeat my call for you to step aside and look from another angle. If you were enemies of the United States, and looked across our history for some weakness to exploit, what two disasters nearly ruined us? Dividing us, sapping our strength, wounding the economy, tearing down our alliances, frittering our military strength?
The Civil War and Vietnam.
Now look at last year's electoral map. And look at Iraq. And wonder... which sworn enemies of our culture have access to every powerful person in this administration?
Paranoid? yes. But reasonable people do not automatically dismiss that which fits all facts and has not been disproved. Always leave a “what-if” possibility open that what you see is exactly what somebody wanted to have happen.