Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mission Accomplished

I realize you're not used to seeing the National Review mentioned here, so I apologize for the shock. But, I must point you toward the following link for their wrap up of an assessment of Bush's latest insane idea of sending yet more troops to Iraq.

Their own opinion includes the following: "Frankly, as he has over the past few weeks, Bush looked like a man who is in way over his head, which he is. The man who got the country into this hole, and whose neglect and incompetence dug us deeper into into it, looks like a man who would like nothing more than to get back to Crawford. We'd all be better off if he would."

I will copy it over at the end of this post in case it's taken down at their site, but it will lose some formatting that's important and the clickable links so I encourage you to view it at their site. It's fascinating.

I had lunch with my friend, Teresa, today. She said she is starting to think Bush needs an exam to make sure he's mentally competent. I have been on vacation and not keeping up on all the details of the news, although I got the highlights, if you can call them that. However, after reading more today, I have to say I agree with her. This man is showing signs of making unsound judgements - and I don't mean in a political sense - I mean in a mentally unstable sense. He has become obsessed with this one thing and cannot see anything beyond it.

When you hold a position that almost everyone thinks is wrong you do have to consider your position. You may come to the conclusion that they just haven't caught on yet, but that examination is an important part of the process.

When you've been fighting a war for almost four years, and have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, and you've made no real progress - in fact it could be argued things are worse now than before you started, and most others "in the know" think your plan is not wise, you really need to consider the facts.

It is hard to believe we are only six years into the Bush presidency. It seems like it was 20 years ago that Clinton was in the White House, and we were at peace, with a surplus in the budget, prosperous, with no deficit. He was the last president before Bush. I have to keep reminding myself it was only six years ago. It seems like we've been at war forever, pouring money down the drain, killing people, increasing our debt exponentially by the hour.

In case you've lost track of what the war is costing you, you can check out

You can compare the costs of the war to that of public education, housing, etc. You can also see what it's costing your town. In my community of about 40,000, our cost tonight is over $34,000,000. I have not contributed a million dollars to the war effort, and yet that is quickly what my share is mounting toward. It's over that already, of course, since not everyone in my community is old enough to be paying taxes.


From Reconcilable Differences - Two Conways, Two Takes

George's Take
"Too Little, Too Late -- Way Too Late"
01/11 09:59 AM

An analysis by Thomas Ricks in today's Washington Post raises serious questions as to whether the "surge" will make any lasting difference at all:

An Army officer who recently commanded a battalion in Baghdad predicted last night that the plan would fail because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his government "will do things to maintain protection" of Sadr's forces. He also dismissed as "happy talk" the president's notion that the predominantly Shiite Iraqi army and police could reassure pro-insurgent Sunni neighborhoods by conducting foot patrols through them.

Bush said it is now clear that there have not been sufficient troops in Baghdad, and that part of the difference in this approach is that the plan will be adequately resourced. Yet the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq after the planned increase will be about 153,000, less than the peak of about 165,000 in December 2005. Military experts last night wondered, as one said, how a "thin green line" of 17,500 additional soldiers in Baghdad could affect the security situation in a city where many of the 5 million residents are hostile to the U.S. presence. "Too little, too late � way too late," said retired Col. Jerry Durrant, who has worked as a trainer of Iraqi forces.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have resisted Bush's push for more troops, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations, but recently gave in to the president's wishes. Bush said last night that top commanders reviewed the new plans to add a total of 21,500 Army and Marine forces in Baghdad and Anbar province and approved of them.

"The 'surge' is actually quite small," said retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, who compared it with the 206,000 additional troops that Gen. William Westmoreland requested in Vietnam in 1968. "In effect, Bush is counting on the Iraqis to pull our bacon out of the fire," Bacevich said, adding that there is no evidence that the Iraqi military and government are capable of doing so.

And over at the Corner, John Derbyshire succinctly points out the complete illogic in Bush's latest version of his strategy:

Sorry, but it struck me as a snow job, from an administration that�pretty much like the rest of us�has no clue where to go from here.

The central and most glaring contradiction is the implied threat to walk away... Yoked to the ringing declaration that, of course, we can't walk away. We seem to be saying to the Maliki govt.: "Hey, you guys better step up to your responsibilites, or else we're outa here." This, a few sentences after saying that we can't leave the place without a victory. So-o-o-o:

�-We can't leave Iraq without a victory.

�-Unless Maliki & Co. get their act together, we can't achieve victory.

�-If Maliki & Co. don't get their act together, we'll leave.

It's been a while since I studied classical logic, but it seems to me that this syllogism leaks like a sieve.

Derb also rightly points that it's hard to take seriously the implied threats Bush seems to be making to Iran and Syria:

The President: "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria." We haven't been doing this? We haven't been doing this? How many of the the 21,500 troops of the "surge" will be assigned to these operations? Leaving how many for Baghdad and Anbar? Shall we have a "hot pursuit" policy?

And, returning to the issue of sticks: What, exactly, do Iran and Syria have to fear from us, whatever they do?

Andy McCarthy pretty much makes the same point:

In any event, most telling was one administration official�s sense that our forces in Iraq had �sure sent a signal to the Iranians� by detaining the Iranian military officials who were captured in raids in mid-December. Yet, even as the president was preparing his new strategy, even as he was readying the words of warning he uttered so forcefully last night, those Iranians were released by the Maliki government and sent back to Iran after about a week in custody.

What signal can this have sent? This one: If you�re an Iranian in Iraq helping to kill American troops, the comeuppance is that we�ll hold you for a few days and then send you back home.

Actions, the old saw tells us, speak louder than words. Given our actions, and what they imply about our sentiments, it�s going to take a lot more than last night�s rhetoric to make an impression on Iran and Syria.

Indeed, Ahmadinejad and Assad should be thrilled that Bush is tying up more assets in Baghdad and Anbar. They've got us right where they want us.

So much for substance. On style, Tom Shales correctly remarks {in the Washington Post] how tense, anxious and rigid Bush looked last night. Frankly, as he has over the past few weeks, Bush looked like a man who is in way over his head, which he is. The man who got the country into this hole, and whose neglect and incompetence dug us deeper into into it, looks like a man who would like nothing more than to get back to Crawford. We'd all be better off if he would.

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