Friday, April 27, 2007

Well, that and the next version of the Iraq spending bill

Bush has said he will veto the Iraq war funding bill. You know, the one that contains voluntary timetables for withdrawal. He calls the timetables "artificial."

Okay, try this exercise, if you dare: imagine a natural timetable in Iraq. Imagine a situation where the US government and the military leaders all look around Iraq and say, "By jiggy, it looks like our work here is done."

Imagine how long it would take to get to a place like that.

Now, go change your underwear.

43 has also postulated that, by imposing their own timetables, the Democrats are not listening to the leadership on the ground in Iraq.

The new leadership, that is. Not the old leadership. Christ, don't listen to them. The old leadership got shit-canned. I think because they sucked.

Yeah, I know, and that was by BushCo standards, even. That's pretty goddamn sucky, don't you think?

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. So, here's a little bit of wisdom from some of the fabled leadership on the ground in Iraq, Lt. Colonel Paul Yingling:

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps. America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.
What do you think? Will we listen to this guy on the ground? After all, he is a deputy commander of the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment who's served two tours in Iraq.

What's that you're saying, sir? You have more?

After failing to visualize the conditions of combat in Iraq, America's generals failed to adapt to the demands of counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency theory prescribes providing continuous security to the population. However, for most of the war American forces in Iraq have been concentrated on large forward-operating bases, isolated from the Iraqi people and focused on capturing or killing insurgents. Counterinsurgency theory requires strengthening the capability of host-nation institutions to provide security and other essential services to the population. America's generals treated efforts to create transition teams to develop local security forces and provincial reconstruction teams to improve essential services as afterthoughts, never providing the quantity or quality of personnel necessary for success.
Wow, sir, I am definitely listening to you. Is there anything we can do?

To reward moral courage in our general officers, Congress must ask hard questions about the means and ways for war as part of its oversight responsibility. Some of the answers will be shocking, which is perhaps why Congress has not asked and the generals have not told. Congress must ask for a candid assessment of the money and manpower required over the next generation to prevail in the Long War. The money required to prevail may place fiscal constraints on popular domestic priorities. The quantity and quality of manpower required may call into question the viability of the all-volunteer military. Congress must re-examine the allocation of existing resources, and demand that procurement priorities reflect the most likely threats we will face. Congress must be equally rigorous in ensuring that the ways of war contribute to conflict termination consistent with the aims of national policy. If our operations produce more enemies than they defeat, no amount of force is sufficient to prevail.
Amazing stuff. I'll bet everyone is listening to this guy.

Or not. Apparently an Army spokesman has already dismissed the Lt. Colonel by stressing that he is expressing his "personal opinions," and that the military is focused on "executing the mission at hand."

That's exactly what I'm afraid of.


Skylers Dad said...

Our military complex, all of it, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines have been in the same frame of mind since the cold war. That is, if we fight a war, we play by the old rules of warfare.

We built up a military machine that is designed for all-out war, rolling across the European continent blazing away with an air attack that is devastating.

War doesn't work that way anymore.

There isn't a huge superpower to do battle with, only terrorists who are willing to die for their cause, and willing to wait.

We are really good at breaking things with amazing technology/weaponry, but we really suck at playing the role of liberator or world policeman.

But nobody high up in the military wants to admit it, or they lose their commission and retirement.

I dream of the day where we just come home, pull out of every shithole that we are quagmired in, and bring home our people.

michael said...

This is old news, really, that the American military know the rules of counterinsurgency suppression -- they just don't feel like following them,

Still, it's going to take general and general, poo-pooed by yes-man after yes-man, to repeat those points until enough people realize we're not locked up in a war we can't win. We're locked up in one we only want to win one way.

The arrogance, the intellectual atrophy -- it must be so disheartening to the military leadership who know that effective, useful theories have been forsaken for sheer ego. If it weren't for all the subsequent misery, I'd love to gloat and say You know you voted for him and for this. Now why don't you hat-in-hand fuck-ups lay down a few rosaries for all the hell and dead your righteous bluster helped bring about.

Anonymous said...

As long as every branch of the government is stacked with loyal "Bushies," it's the same shit, different day.

Bubs said...

What's really tragic is that the generation of Army leadership who served as junior officers in Vietnam (Powell, etc) were marginalized, mocked and/or hounded out of the service by Rumsfeld.

Read a book titled "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam" by HR McMaster. McMaster wrote it about ten years ago and has since served a couple tours in Iraq. The comparisons to the McNamara and Rumsfeld Pentagons are obvious.

GETkristiLOVE said...

We still have a year and a half to go before the next administration will even try to get us out of Iraq, right? Then, how long will it take a new administration? Talk about a timeline... it's depressing as hell.

Larry Jones said...

I expect the administration to begin trashing this guy forthwith. It will be hinted that he has had personal problems in the past, that he's got a grudge because he was passed over for promotion, or something like that. If Rove has time to get involved, the colonel will have a gay lover, so how could we possibly believe anything he says?

Johnny Yen said...

The Prussian soldier and military thinker Clausewitz said that a leader needs to figure out the poltical goals, then determine the military means to that goal-- not the other way around. Another Prussian military thinker, Moltke, pointed out that no campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy.

I think that there were actual political goals-- harebrained, unrealistic goals, but goals nonetheless. From there, though, since the plan fell apart, there's been a Vietnam-like constant shifting of political goals to try to match the mission, which itself is not clear.

Al Santoli, in his great 1994 book "Leading the Way: How Vietnam Veterans Rebuilt the U.S. Military" told how officers who'd served in Vietnam rebuilt, restored and reinvigorated a military demoralized by the Vietnam debacle.

These were the same vets, as Bubs pointed out, that Rummy and company demeaned, discounted and drove out of the military.

This war has been disasterous on a lot of levels. The war is functioning as an international training ground for terrorists, with unfortunate coalition troops as the "practice targets." It's weakened military strength in places where it's needed, like Afghanistan. It's damaged relationships with countries that have been allies for a century or more. So at a time when we need strength the most, this pack of idiots has weakened our military and our standing in the world.

Grant Miller said...

I couldn't decide whether to agree with George Tenet last night on "60 Minutes" or blame him for everything. Probably a mix of the two.