Yesterday, in the paper, I read that our forces in Iraq are trying the “ink-blot” tactic of securing a zone and then letting security leak outward into the surrounding territory. The article did not mention where this approach was first tried. Or how well it did there.
Seriously, when we hear phrases like “cut and run.” When flag waving (on one side) and simplistic screechy sign slogans (on the other) substitute for debate. When we keep hearing about light at the end of a tunnel. When collateral damage to civilians creates new enemy recruits. When the BEST that we can hope for, from a new, propped-up government is a different style of hating us and the empowerment of some other regional power...
Has anybody, anywhere, the balls to mention a word that is apparently forbidden from the 21st Century American lexicon? The OTHER time that we got suckered into doing sumo, instead of jiu jitsu, throwing half a trillion dollars into an utter futility that spoiled our alliances, created division at home, ruined our military readiness and ended (exactly as Ike warned us it would) very very badly?
In fact, looking over the vast success story that is American history, suppose YOU were some nasty force in the world that suddenly owned and operated a clade of suborned US leaders. What horrid thing would you have them do? What trap would you have them order us to step right into. What example should we have avoided at all costs, if we had a shred of memory, or any ability to learn from our mistakes?
Hey, you know me. I do NOT oppose a smart, agile Pax Americana, like we saw in the Balkans and even in Afghanistan. Don’t you DARE “peacenik” me! There were dozens of other “nation building” exercises we could have engaged in, to foster democracy in the middle east. A mere ten billions spent in Lebanon, in 2003, could have helped them get far enough that the current crisis THERE was avoided. Instead of diving into the worst and most expensive and least likely place to plant Enlightenment seeds. (With IRA and SA the biggest winners, by far.)
All of which is aside. Which is WHY IS THE V WORD NOT EVEN MENTIONED, BY ANYONE, EVER, AT ANY TIME?
What? Do I live in a parallel universe where it never happened? Could there be any greater proof that there is psychosis afoot?
And -- if you have NOT been saying the V word in an attempt to understand the similarities and differences with today - then that “P word” must apply to you, as well.
---- Under the “if this had happened under Clinton” department…
Once-secret documents obtained by The Associated Press show a disaster supply management company went unpunished for Sept. 11 thefts after the government discovered federal agents and other government officials had stolen artifacts from New York's ground zero.
And again, under the ever-recurring theme of “imagine if this happened under Clinton...” take the recent move by GWB to suddenly allow vast tonnage of radioactive materials owned by US companies to be sent to Russia for reprocessing as they see fit.
In fact, so much of the news can be viewed more colorfully if you squint and imagine the Limbaugian apoplexy. “if this had been dod by Clintonites, instead.” Have you seen the figures about small business health as opposed to the big corporations listed in the Stock Market? And for six years STRAIGHT the administration has found yeat another excuse not to offer 23% of its contractors to small businesses instead of cronies. This time, they tried using shills and secrecy. Surprise.
Misc: geopolitical items:
The UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown's major unofficial assignment has been to act as a liaison between the UN and the U.S. government. If someone like him — a Briton with a lot of experience in international organizations — suggests U.S. leaders to care more about the United Nations, the world should take heed.http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=5382
Does Migration Hurt Developing Countries?
Under the category of “Is there no limit to their outrageousness?”
(Submitted by Stefan):
NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet
From 2002 until this year, NASA’s mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can.”
In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” deleted. In this year’s budget and planning documents, the agency’s mission is “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”
David E. Steitz, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the aim was to square the statement with President Bush’s goal of pursuing human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars. But the change comes as an unwelcome surprise to many NASA scientists, who say the “understand and protect” phrase was not merely window dressing but actively influenced the shaping and execution of research priorities. Without it, these scientists say, there will be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
Several NASA researchers said they were upset that the change was made at NASA headquarters without consulting the agency’s 19,000 employees or informing them ahead of time.
Next time, a longer and more detailed essay about “What liberals and democrats could to do win, by learning some tactics from Karl Rove...” Or at least by “not giving Karl Rove a gift.”
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I think the V word got raised so much early on everyone got bored by it. Still:
In Iraq, Military Forgot Lessons of Vietnam
Gravel...draws many parallels between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq.
and more with the help of Google.
Also, there are a bunch of us too young to remember Vietnam, that grew up disgusted with Baby Boomers constantly fighting about that war over and over again years later. That war really screwed up that generation and may be the main reason why they can't lead. I don't really believe in generational politics, but there are times I think all we really need to do to get over this hump is wait for this generation to just... well, let's vote for some younger people.
Maybe Vietnam isn't a bad enough comparison?
Yes, far fewer deaths. Yes, it hasn't gone on as long . . . yet.
But . . . Iraq is in a far more critical and volatile part of the world. The miscalculations and failures and corruption are far more obvious (to anyone who doesn't depend on Fox News). The costs are astronomical. The USA has lost face and reputation around the world. And the sheer misguided, unrealistic hubris of the folks responsible is unprecedented.
The Bush administration just didn't screw the pooch, they did it in the hall outside a Sunday school class while wearing Grandma's wedding dress after getting the dog drunk on communion wine and they refuse to admit that there's anything wrong that humping faster won't solve.
From now on, it'll be . . . "We're getting into another Iraq!"
To add to that fresh, clean whiff of indignation in the morning: from the same place I read about NASA's ..ummm.. 'policy shift', Sen. Inhof's insights on climate change.
(There'll be fluoride in the water supply, yet!)
..I like it Stefan (although I hope you're not referring to Iraqis as dogs?!!;-)
While on climate change, read the opinion of Prof. Peter Doran, the scientist oft-misquoted by Crichton and Coulter as proof positive there isn't any such thing, children!
There are truefacts, and there are goodfacts, and there are pretzels...
I disagree that us oldsters were "constantly fighting" about Vietnam.
We pulled our troops out in 1973, then we were on to Watergate, Inflation, OPEC and Iran hostages.
When St. Ronnie was crowned, we began a 20 year period of greed and self-aborption.
Except for the occasional presidential election or Very Important Movie, the topic of Vietnam hardly came up again until recently.
And Vietnam only came up again because the neocons needed to rehabilitate that war because it stood between them and hundreds of billions of dollars in war profits.
When the last helicopters lift off from Baghdad, Kabul and Tel Aviv, those images, combined with Vietnam, will finally put a stake in the idea that conventional warfare can solve anything anymore.
Until China takes over the world, that is.
But something tells me they won't need to relearn this lesson...
Tony: No . . . Iraq may be well and truly screwed, but not Iraqis.
* * *
A look inside a fossil-fuel industry F.U.D. campaign:
Leaked Memo Reveals Coal Industry Propoganda Plan
Stefan: No. Joking aside I think, despite the sectarian provocations and the gentlefolk behind it all, the everyman Iraqis are hanging in there, barely.
Actually nobody's talking about Victory in the sense of what it is or how we will get it, either. I find that a little disturbing; if we must have a war, I'd like to win it.
I agree with mark, Vietnam was my father's war... it's been over for 30 years, it's time to let go. Iraq can be criticized on its own merits without dragging out that old chestnut. IMO it just muddies up the waters by appealing to sentiments of aged Baby Boomers.
The Bush administration is so bad, they're making Nixon look good. (Not counting the third of them that came from the Nixon administration, of course)
And speaking as one of the younger generation, Vietnam just means movies to me. Although I was reading Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 back around the election, and an eerie amount of it sounded like what was going in 2004. Although how they managed to make the two Republicans who sat out Vietnam into war heroes, and blasted the guy who got shot in Vietnam as an anti-American traitor I'm not quite sure, aside from the Democrats being afraid to get into "name calling' I guess.
Poor Dr. Brin.
What he thought was conspiricy of the neocons turns out to be one carried out by his own feckless acolytes...
If you guys are tired of hearing about Vietnam, you should instead study the Phillipine-American War...it's a much better comparison to our occupation of Iraq than Vietnam.
Trumped up reasons. Same number of U.S. troops. A divided insurgency. Puppet leadership. We even started torturing prisoners for the first time...
It also had better protestors. Mark Twain himself led the charge against America's first attempt at benevolent Imperialism.
His best piece was an essay directed at the people we were trying to bring "civilization" to called To the Person Sitting in Darkness.
You can read it here:
I posted this in the previous thread, but This guy really does have quite a bit to say about how the military adventure in Iraq has been mangled at all stages.
The "V" word is pretty much banned by the administration because they spent soooo much effort avoiding it themselves. Which administration figure got 5 draft deferrments? Which administration figure finagled training on an obsolete jet fighter that would never be deployed in Vietnamistan?
I don't get some of you.
Do you honestly mean to contend that we should NOT pay heed to America's worst mistake of the 20th Century?
The fantastic act of hubris, spurning Ike's advice, of committing to an endless land war of attrition in Asia, a grunting, savage guerilla struggle against people who sincerely (if wrong-headedly) saw us as invaders? Under conditions that minimize our strengths and maximize our weaknesses?
A quixotic (at best) effort to plant seeds of democracy in a region''s LEAST likely ground, instead of fostering it much more cheaply, in nearby fertile fields?
An effort so vastly out of all proportion that we suffered economic damage afterwards, for decades?
A quagmire so divisive that it split the Greatest Nation straight down the middle, a debilitating divide that radicals of both sides helped along, because they saw it as a GOOD thing?
A meaningless crusade, destructive of all of our alliances, of our reputation, our ability to lead... and totally devastating to our readiness to face other kinds of emergencies?
What, this isn't relevant? Not even when all of the rhetoric gets repeated, exactly as if we were caught in a time warp cliche? "Cut-and-run," "stay the course," "ink-blot counter-insurgency".... and so on endlessly?
The same right wing jerks who yapped for decades that Vietnam was "lost due to politician meddling" now support the greatest political purge and oppression of the US Officer Corps in its entire history. The same twits who yowled at Clinton for the "feckless and quixotic, pursuit of discredited, utopian so-called nation-building" are now pouring more of our wealth down a "nation building" rat hole than all previous efforts combined. Including successful efforts in Cambodia and the Balkans that they reviled. An effort that AT BEST will raise an "islamic republic" with some democratic aspects... exactly like Iran.
The mania to avoid Vietnam comparisons must and can only be that, a MANIA. Santayana said that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT MEMORIES OF VIETNAM SHOULD CRIPPLE US!
Why, oh why am I the only guy in the known universe who is urging a line-by-line comparison of three Pax Americana interventions?
Clinton's Balkans Campaign
This Iraq Mess
Which pair are similar straight on down the line. Who deserves credit for efficiency, effectiveness and speed? For intervening in ways that INCREASED our alliances and leadership position and readiness, instead of devastating all three? (Leaving Europe at peace for the 1st time in 4,000 years, all at the cost of ZERO US service personel? That is Z-E-R-O?
Corner your fellow citizens. Grab their lapels and go over these three interventions, line by $%#@$*! line! And skewer the lefty jerks who make this a matter of "the US should never use or threaten force." Try telling that bullshit to a Bosnian, or a Pole.
This Iraq Mess is not about oil - (the left is nuts; what $#$@*! oil????)
This is not about democracy in Iraq (the right is nuts; anybody with two neurons to scrape together can already see the real winners, Iran and SA. Face facts.)
This is not even about incompetence. Because the litany of bad choices would not be so relentlessly perfect. By ACCIDENT they would have made some good decisions by now.
There is one prime theory that fits all known facts. And it explains why an administration would repress all mention of the great American blunder of the 20th Century.
Because it wanted, deliberately and with malice toward us all, to repeat that mistake early in the 21st
Don't ascribe to incompetence that which has been vastly to PERFECTLY incompetent. Whenever you see perfection, suspect that delierate is going on. As Ian Fleming said: "Once is happenstance. Twice is Coincidence. Three times is enemy action."
What about a thousand times?
Now ask yourselves... why would they want to do such a thing?
Well there is the irony. As a non-Baby Boomer I think the comparisons are perfectly fine. The problem is very few Baby Boomers seem to have the maturity to transcend their experiences from that time/place/event/mistake called Vietnam. "Vietnam" is a loaded word and once you go done that path you throw reason right out the window. (Not you, personally, but the discussion itself.)
It is this degenerative sub-conversation that I can't stand and see no way to avoid once we get into V land. Try again in 30 or so years.
Oh, and OF COURSE Iran was pushing for this war. They even had one of their guys sitting next to Mrs. Bush at one of the State of the Union addresses. I'm a bit less sure of SA, but I'll go along with that as well.
But you tend to push things a few degrees too far. Admitting their active role is one thing, assuming they planned every mistake and tragedy is another thing entirely. That, I don't go along with. In fact, you seem to be making the same basic mistake the neocons make, assuming states must be responsible , unwilling that multiple individuals all have different voices and quite a bit of power and influence collectively. (Ok, that last sentence was cruel, I'll delete it before posting... oops, too late. :-)
ALas, you are not following the reasoning far enough.
Step back. Look at the employment histories of almost every person who this administration has appointed to high (political) positions of power over national security. Seek the common employer, subsidizer.
Now look at that subsidizer's very well-known long range goal... to destroy our entire civilization. Openly stated in the textbooks they hand their own kids.
Now look at who has BENEFITTED from all of this.
I mean.... duh?
The pathetic thing is that this sci fi scenario is dismissed as paranoid... when similar scenarios of subornation were taken very seriuously during WWII and the Cold War. They are traditional (historically) and exactly why you or I would try to do, if positions were reversed.
It fits every single fact, yet it's paranoid. Yeesh.
"Do you honestly mean to contend that we should NOT pay heed to America's worst mistake of the 20th Century?"
We're too busy figuring out which is the worst mistake of the 21st century. Every time a new disaster comes along, we wonder which of the existing disasters this new disaster was designed to knock out of public awareness. For example, is Israel vs. Hezbollah supposed to make us ignore what's happening in Iraq -- or in Afghanistan, or in North Korea, or in New Orleans' lack of rebuilding, or in Medicare D's "doughnut hole," or in U.S. port security (and an allegedly settled Dubai ports deal), or in domestic spying, or in ....?
Dr. Brin, if you look at your last long post, and replace the word "Vietnam" with, as monkyboy suggests, "the Phillipines"... you will begin to grasp the relevance of your comparison to people of my generation.
By like turns, if you use the word "Vietnam" in a sentence around most Americans over the age of fifty, their eyes bug out and flecks of foam spew from their mouths... half the time they don't even know why. Get more than six of them together and it looks like a Tourette's convention being attacked by rabid bats.
These symptoms are not the hallmarks of reasoned debate. Nobody is suggesting that we shouldn't learn from history... but none of the Baby Boomers who are currently calling the shots in politics are going to learn a single thing once that word is trotted out, because their opinions on the topic are already of a religious intensity.
While comparisons can certainly be made... I guess I don't understand, from a perspective of wishing to bring people over to your way of thinking, why you think that this comparison suits your needs.
Well it might help, David, if you actually told us what you believe. You keep almost saying it, then stop.
It sounds like you are saying Bush and Chenney are actively and purposefully working to destroy America because they have been bribed and/or are secretly islamic fundamentalists.
I agree with you when it comes to the motivations of various players, Iran, SA, etc. But you keep implying more to it than that, much more. But since you won't say exactly it is hard to for me to be sure.
I see these systems as very complex, with different people having different motivations. Imagine a gas with each individual moving in some direction. The movement vectors of the true Neocons is different than Bush is different than Iran but the vectors add up to where we are right now. Not a great analogy, but hopefully you get the idea.
In this analogy you seem to be implying all the vectors are in perfect alignment and all being driven by one royal family. Even if you are right about the royal family itself I don't buy the rest. A factor? Yes, even an important factor. The explanation for all things and the only motivation at work? No way.
Melissa and Palliard, you think you are standing outside of my generational bias, but instead you are only showing your own.
There are no metrics by which Vietnam cannot win by a mile, as America's worst mistake of the 20th Century.
Even the Hawley Smoot Tariffs, which arguably worsened the Great Depression, did not CAUSE the Depression, while the Stagflation and roaring deficits of the Seventies and Eighties were direct results of Vietnam. Among the many casualties, have you ever wondered why we STOPPED ambitious space ventures after Apollo? The end of the Moon Race is given as the biggest reason, but lack of money was bigger.
The reason why my dad's generation gets to preen as the "greatest" while our eyes "bug out" over Vietnam is that we (the few of us who let ourselves remember) recall how nearly THAT "culture war" came to tearing the nation apart. You cannot name any other time EVEN the Depression, when it came closer. Not after 1865.
We had a dozen big projects on the table. Energy, race relations, fixing the cities, urban transport, health care (and NIXON proposed a more ambitious health plan than Hillary did!) We began that war as popular as gods and ended it with American tourists putting Maple Leaves on their luggage to hide their ID.
But here's the part that saddens me. You hurl intergenerational stuff at me when you really ought to be INTERESTED in the parallels between these two great errors, these two parallel events, these two cases of hubristic arrogance that turned the world against us, demolished our budget, our internal cohesion, our world popularity, our military readiness and much much more..
Alas. You shrug and dismiss as ancient history what is clearly the TEMPLATE that Bush & Co were ordered to follow. Because it can only have been planned. There is NO WAY it could have been followed so well without it being deliberate.
(Mark, of COURSE I am exaggerating my own level of certainty about this. FOr dramatic effect. I admit it may turn out to have been an incredibly unlikely set of coincidences.... incompetencies piled so high they beggar the imagination. Including the fact that nearly all of this cabal worked for a clique that wants to destroy us and has unlimited corruption-ready subornation funds.
(Still. Can you come up with any reason why they WOULDN'T use such power? Put yourself in their shoes, with their resources and deeply-felt motives. Is this not what you would do?)
I don't know about deeply-held motives.
I think they're a bunch of bored old farts who have all made fortunes selling government influence.
Now they're having some fun moving army men around a map.
Win, lose or draw...they will all retire to their mansions and "ranches," completely insulated from any negative effects that result from their actions.
Then you know less than nothing about the entities involved. That is precisely the image they have nurtured...
...and it bear's no relation to the fanatical alliance set up by their grandfather and the leader of their extreme purity-cult.
Let me tell you what DOES bear on that cult, testifying to its power.
Nearly all of the 9/11 raiders... and nearly all of their handlers and leaders... come from the same pampered, wealthy class and country that you portray as decadent and only interested in their pleasures.
It is toweringly smug to dismiss others with disdainful and contemptuous stereotypes. It is even worse when you do this to an enemy.
Our enemies do it to us. They MUST! Because if they don't use the "Americans are soft and decadent" rationalization, they must conclude from our rich, happy lives, that we have a better way of living. No no no no we can't have that.
And so we do the same thing, dismissing with a shrug a people who have proved hardy in the face of adversity AND DETERMINED AND HARDY IN THE FACE OF TEMPTING CONFORT!
I'd rather err in the direction of respect than as we have, so far. In the way they want us to err. By ignoring danger till it is too late.
PS... just look at the employment records! Would the corelation with BushCo security appointments be PERFECT for any other reason? Any at all?
The man they wanted to be our CHIEF MASTER PROTECTION OFFICER is now over there, working for them. Right now.
I'm going to try playing devil's advocate here for a moment.
1) How many individuals would have to have been subverted in order for the Iraq invasion to have been a deliberate attempt to weaken America?
(My guess is three. I suspect that Dick Cheney, Tommy Franks, and Paul Bremer could have done a lot to get us into trouble if that's what they wanted to do. Are they enough?)
2) Could you list some of the wrong decisions made, other than the initial decision to invade, and show how they were the worst decisions possible?
Finally, I'd like to quote from an interview with Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks, author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq:
Stafford, Va.: Where does the crux of the blame for the FIASCO lie? There were a lot of efforts to incorporate lessons learned and new "ways of thinking" into military concepts, doctrine, education and training prior to OIF. Why did these efforts fail to take?
Tom Ricks: I'd say the book argues that you don't get a mess as big as Iraq from the failings of one or two men, such as President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
Rather, I think there was a systemic failure. Sure, the Bush Administration made mistakes, and failed especially to recognized the nature of the conflict in which it was engaged (which as Clausewitz says, is the key task of the supreme leader).
But I would would say the military establishment bears much of the blame, especially for the flawed occupation.
In addition, the media and the intelligence community made mistakes.
Finally, I think that Congress was asleep at the wheel. That's crucial. Congressional hearings provide oversight and accountability and (when done well) pump information into the American system. In other wars, you had hawks and doves. In this war you had the silence of the lambs.
a grunting, savage guerilla struggle against people who sincerely (if wrong-headedly) saw us as invaders?
1/2 a million troops, 10,000 miles away from their home country, but they are not invaders, who are you kidding?
I am sure I missed the part where having kicked the shit out of the French at Dien Bien Phu, the vietnamese invited us to visit their beautiful countryside and drop a few tons of munitions over their heads but I know I wasn't paying to much attention to current events back then.
wrong decisions made in Iraq,
Here 's one
Privatization of Iraq
and I'll quote
On September 19, Bremer enacted the now infamous Order 39. It announced that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatised; decreed that foreign firms can retain 100% ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories; and allowed these firms to move 100% of their profits out of Iraq. The Economist declared the new rules a "capitalist dream".
Looks like Bush & company wanted to impose their version of Capitalism on the fine people of Iraq.
(Ok, I've got to post something about this while I still have time to write...)
I have to say that as far as the lack of interest in parallels to Vietnam, I don't get it either. I may be biased, though, because I do remember a bit about Vietnam (there was lots of stuff on the news all the time about people dying and stuff, and one of my classmates in 4th grade had a father who was killed there), and (most damning of all), I have seen Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Good Morning Vietnam and Hair, so I can't truly claim to be among the innocent. (Sorry, did I drip any sarcasm on you? (-; )
Let's remove the generational context, then: let's imagine that this was about the Korean War, which was definitely before my time. Or maybe some war from the 1800s. Or from Ancient Rome.
Regardless of the particular war, the situation is this: a small group of people who want power do a bit of history homework to see what has worked in the past. They then foolishly apply their discoveries to the present, thinking that the greatest country in the world will fall for the same scheme a second time.
But hey, guess what – it worked. Who knew. Apparently we (a word which here means "those who still support the Iraq war") haven't learned from history after all.
Shouldn't they feel stupid, once they learn how they've been duped? And if they don't feel stupid, shouldn't we be ticked off about that?
(I think it might be interesting to explore the reasons why we seem to be getting such a ho-hum reaction about this; perhaps disinterest in Vietnam is the result of a successful meme campaign?)
On a slightly different but highly related topic, I feel a need to get clarity on DB's theory. I have my own theory, but it's not very well developed, and there are certainly other angles to explore.
Who is "the subsidizer"? Are we talking about religious fundamentalism? Or maybe big business? Something else?
The real killing in Southeast Asia didn't start until we ran away, after the politicos in Washington didn't have the will-power to fight a real war. They never faced the fact that in order to win a war you have to convince everyone, and I mean everyone, that you will stop at nothing to win a fight.
If we run away from Iraq, will we run away from Europe too? Or will we convine ourselves that Eurabia will be enough?
This is World War IV (with The Cold War being WW III), being fought with new methods on new battlespace. One is 4GW, and another is 5GW. Copy and Paste from the purple slog comments, which is the best place to get introduced to the idea that this is absolute, toral war that is being waged in every aspect of our lives.
Sorry. Read absolute, total war not absolute, toral war. Geez.
How about Republican Chuck Hagel using the V-word: http://newnebraska.blogspot.com/2006/07/chuck-hagel-iraq-absolute-replay-of.html
DaveX, Here is the article you tried to link to, dunno why yours don't work, so I copied it again.
As to Hagel using the V-word, he is entitled to his opinion.
The fact remains that things are vastly different than then, the #1 being our military is volunteer, #2 being we have learned from our experience in "V", and
#3 like Vietnam, we are fighting a proxy war with another nation, previously Russia and China, this time, Iran and North Korea.
You need to really follow my links in the other previous comment I made, because they lead to ideas that put the whole of World War IV in context.
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