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September 29, 2006

Rumsfeld: Man of War
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:36 PM * 103 comments

(CNN) — Donald Rumsfeld’s Iraqi war plan worked beautifully for three weeks. U.S. troops quickly deposed Saddam Hussein and captured Baghdad with a relatively small force and with lightning speed.

But with Iraq on the verge of civil war three years later, the secretary of defense now admits that no one was well-prepared for what would happen after major combat ended.

“Well, I think that anyone who looks at it with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight has to say that there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is,” Rumsfeld told CNN for the documentary, “CNN Presents Rumsfeld — Man of War,” which debuts Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

“20/20 hindsight” indeed. This from the man who reportedly said “I’ll fire the next guy who asks about a post-war plan.” This from the man who actually did fire a guy (General Shinseki) who correctly predicted the problems ahead.

Maybe Donnie Rumsfeld didn’t anticipate this insurgency, but a whole lot of other people did. Remember back before the invasion when a guy named de Genova predicted “a hundred Mogadishus” in Iraq? Remember how he was excoriated by the right-wingers?

18 American troops died in Mogadishu, 3-4 October, 1993. So far we’ve lost 2,710 US troopers dead in Iraq. That’s 150 Mogadishus and counting, Mr. Rumsfeld. Don’t you dare talk about how no one anticipated this level of insurgency.

It was predicted. Rumsfeld just chose not to listen.

Comments on Rumsfeld: Man of War:
#1 ::: Dave Lartigue ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 01:16 PM:

Let's see. Nobody anticipated using airplanes as bombs. No one anticipated the insurgency. No one anticipated the levees breaking.

What the hell are we paying these people for if they never know what's going on? And why should we trust them to make any predictions for the future? They haven't spotted anything coming in six years.

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 01:18 PM:

Jim, I must respectfully object to your characterization.

I realize it's currently fashionable among bleeding-hearts to call any adult male human (in the broadest sense of 'human') a "man," but I think we should have some standards.

I suggest slightly altering your headline to "Man-o'-War," which would indicate how spineless and toxic he is.

#3 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 01:23 PM:

Wasn't it a 'million Mogadishus'?

What strikes me as particularly odd/criminally incompetent on Rumsfelds' part is that as someone who always claimed to be on the cutting edge of strategic thinking, he paid absolutely no attention to the massive literature concerning insurgencies, asymmetrical warfare, etc, etc written in the 90s + earlier. Since the smart officers in Iraq were reading about Algeria, Malaya, and so on - at least according to George Packer - why wasn't he?

#4 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 01:44 PM:

A man of war - usually with the words hypenated and a ' instead of an "f" - was a sailing warship, built specifically for a nation's service.

These were tough fighting machines, technically advanced, very complex, extremely efficient and above all, effective and powerful. While not providing comfort, they were battleworthy and sturdy. They were responsive to their helm and constructed on reasonable principles.

On the other hand, man of war is also the name of a species of poisonous jellyfish. These are full of air, and float with any current, having no brain and no heart. But 'ware their sting.

What on earth is Mr Macdonald getting at here?

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 01:51 PM:

James @ 3

He belongs to the school of thought that believes that an MBA qualifies you to run anything, even if you have no knowledge of the operation you're running. Or, apparently, if your only experience with it is decades back.

(FWIW: John Dean referred to Rumsfeld as 'slimy'.)

#6 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 02:00 PM:

Rumsfeld told CNN for the documentary, “CNN Presents Rumsfeld — Man of War,” which debuts Saturday at 8 p.m.

I wonder if CNN be calling Rumsfeld on his shit.

Show a clip of Rumsfeld saying "there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is"

and then cutting to, say, General Shinseki saying months before the invasion that it would take four-hundred thousand american troops to occupy Iraq.

Nah, that would take jounalism, and might limit CNN's access to Rumsfeld and the rest of the administration. Better to play along so they can get good interviews down the road....

#7 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 02:17 PM:

"I am a man of war," said Ian, softly

#8 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 02:49 PM:

Actually, Rumsfeld seems to have run the whole thing rather like a second-rate management consultant coming into a new firm; get rid of as many staff as you can, think only in the short-term, and ignore what the people there before you advise.

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 03:16 PM:

Aside from enriching himself, I wonder how well Rumsfeld managed G.D. Searle when he was CEO there. Among all the big Pharma companies whose ads I see, I don't recall that company name being present. Does it even exist anymore? (Rhetorical -- I can Google as well as anyone.)

#10 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 03:21 PM:

Answering my own question, nope. Searle was acquired by Monsanto. Interesting note from Wikipedia:

Donald Rumsfeld followed Searle as CEO, and then as President, of Searle between 1977 and 1985. During his tenure at Searle, Rumsfeld reduced the number of employees in the company by 60%. The financial turnaround of the company earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from the Wall Street Transcript (1980) and Financial World (1981). In 1985, he played an instrumental role in the acquisition of G.D. Searle & Company by Monsanto. (My italics)

That force reduction seems to foreshadow what he's done with the US military.

#11 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 03:28 PM:

That force reduction seems to foreshadow what he's done with the US military.

Yeah, but who'd want to buy the US military in its current state? (rhetorical question, please don't answer it)

Makes him a nice fit for Bush and Cheney, neither of whom was really good at running a business anywhere other than into the ground. [/snark]

#12 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 04:21 PM:

Well, with torture allowed now, and no habeas corpus, I guess we have to worry about him reducing the employ-ahem, the inhabitants- of this country.

#13 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 04:35 PM:

"Show a clip of Rumsfeld saying "there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is"

and then cutting to, say, General Shinseki saying months before the invasion that it would take four-hundred thousand american troops to occupy Iraq.

Nah, that would take jounalism, and might limit CNN's access to Rumsfeld and the rest of the administration. Better to play along so they can get good interviews down the road...."

You know, it's pretty scary that the only media outlet currently showing this type of journalistic ethic is the self-named "fake news". Skewering ridiculous claims with short clips of what was said long ago is pure Jon Stewart/Daily Show, and pretty much no other news outlet. Well, maybe Olbermann would do something similar, but that's about it.

#14 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 04:54 PM:

Searle was made into a division of Monsanto, which merged with Pharmacia which was aquired by Pfizer which spun off Monsanto but kept the Searle bits. I have an employee ID for three of those transactions.

I can't say much about Rumsfeld's tenure, but I know that in 1995 the big concern was the lack of serious product candidates in Searle's pipeline. One might draw the conclusion that you need scientists to make discoveries.

#15 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 04:56 PM:

You know, I can't tell whether Rumsfeld is lying or else he believes what he's saying is the utter truth. Either possibility is frightening.

#16 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 05:18 PM:

"That force reduction seems to foreshadow what he's done with the US military."

Yeah, but the Searle people were lucky that it didn't involve loss of life and limb.

#17 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 05:50 PM:

Rumsfeld was always a self-aggrandizing mediocrity: in the Ford administration, Searle, during his tenure as a right wing congressman in the Sixties.

Talk about the blind leading the blind: We're ruled by delusional ideologues, and their followers are even worse. If you're that far out of touch with reality, you need extraordinary powers just to keep one step ahead of the law. Their congressional enablers -- a Roll Call Hall of Shame -- were quick to oblige.

Still, Woodward's book may mark a turning point. You know things are bad when the court stenographer starts to bite the hand that has been feeding him.

#18 ::: Rasselas ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 05:58 PM:

Were "warlord," "warmonger" and "war lover" taken for other CNN documentaries?

#19 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 06:14 PM:

About Rumsfeld's tenure at Searle, and the management style to be derived from that history:

Before September 0'1, Rumsfeld was all over NPR talk shows detailing his plan for a modern military, which included calls for "efficiency" including a decrease in the professional force, substantial decreases in stockpiles of weapons and supplies, and incresease in private sector management of supply depots and, if I remember right, the medical sector.

#20 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 06:19 PM:

Donald Rumsfeld is either a liar or a fucking idiot - possibly both. He had the tools to make sure this shit didn't happen - even with just the US military - if he hadn't been a damn fool idiot about initial deployment strengths, and had had a goddamn plan for post-war (not firing hundreds of thousands of trained Iraqi combatants immediately after accepting their surrender would have been a start, you damn jackass).

"Nobody could have predicted"? Hell, I was figuring out ways to try and minimize chances of uprising, and I'm a damn amateur at this shit. But it doesn't take much more than an amateur to realize that Rumsfeld has never figured out that Logistics is the heart of warfighting, peacebuilding, or, really, anything - not weapons, not technology, not fighting skills, not even morale.

Can someone be tried for treason for incompetence and negligence so gross that it does, in fact, provide aid and succor to the enemy?

Goddamn lying fool.

#21 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 06:50 PM:

So where did this come from: 12,000 U.S. troops to operate under NATO in Afghanistan?

That sounds like it makes sense. Down to the last paragraph in the story, anyway, where Rumsfeld says:

"The implication that if you stop killing or capturing people who are trying to kill you, then therefore the world would be a better place, is obviously nonsensical."

No other cost-effective ways (when they miss) to discourage repeat attempts and new recruits?

#22 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 06:56 PM:

torture

#23 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 07:39 PM:

If he is a man-o'-war, he's certainly not first-rate. Not third-rate either - that would make him a seventy-four, the bulwark of the line. Not even a fifth-rate or a sixth-rate - at least those, unlike Rumsfeld, are considered fit to stand in the line of battle.
As for lesser craft - he's not a frigate, because frigates are the eyes of the fleet, and he's nothing if not blind. He's not even a sloop, which was a courageous little ship that could do great good if well-handled. He might be a rocket-ship or a bomb-ketch (inaccurate and destructive, and the cutting edge of modern technology) but even those don't quite seem to fit.

No, he's a damned bloated Indiaman, wallowing along laden with riches from trade and a damn superior air into the bargain, considering himself the next thing to God Almighty and the Duke put together, but nothing more than a hindrance to the real fighting men and ships that have to escort and convoy him.
(Hobbles off on gouty feet to look for the claret.)

#24 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 09:06 PM:

I can't find where it is just now, but somebody's LJ prompted me to say something very much like:

Q: What kind of person calls an elective war that kills thousands "a comma"?
A: A major-league colon.

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 09:41 PM:

ajay: Hip, hip, hurrah!

#26 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2006, 09:42 PM:

Man O' War (aka Big Red) was a champion race horse.

Don Rumsfeld is an asshole.

#27 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 12:46 AM:

Scott H.:

You know, it's pretty scary that the only media outlet currently showing this type of journalistic ethic is the self-named "fake news". Skewering ridiculous claims with short clips of what was said long ago is pure Jon Stewart/Daily Show, and pretty much no other news outlet. Well, maybe Olbermann would do something similar, but that's about it.

You clearly didn't see the last interview that Rumsfeld did with the BBC. The BBC interviewer asked about one of his pre-war statements, Rumsfeld denied ever saying it, and the interviewer instantly ran a video of the original statement and again asked him to comment. This happened several times. I'm sure you can see why I said "the last interview with the BBC."

#28 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 03:08 AM:

And Congress is on recess or about to go on recess....

The October Surprise, war on Iran and Armageddon starts...

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061009/lindorff

article | posted September 21, 2006
War Signals?
Dave Lindorff

...the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast

Colonel Gardiner, who has taught military strategy at the National War College, says that the carrier deployment and a scheduled Persian Gulf arrival date of October 21 is "very important evidence" of war planning. He says, "I know that some naval forces have already received 'prepare to deploy orders' [PTDOs], which have set the date for being ready to go as October 1. Given that it would take about from October 2 to October 21 to get those forces to the Gulf region, that looks about like the date" of any possible military action against Iran

============================

IMT made the sky fall

#29 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:02 AM:

Not to excuse Mr. Rumsfeld, but I think that people here overestimate the ability of anyone to predict what happens in war.

(Of course some people predicted exactly what happened. So will enough people throwing darts...)

Instead you deal with probability and trade-off.

General Shinseki wasn't "correct". 400,000 troops would have not have guaranteed success, simply made it much more likely. But the *cost* of placing 400,000 troops would have been guaranteed to be extremely heavy.

Rumsfeld chose a much more modest and affordable option, but one that had a correspondingly higher chance of failure. Remember there was no guarantee that the initial campaign would go well with the force levels he chose. He won that gamble. He lost the post-war one.

Could he have bought more insurance in the form of more troops? Absolutely. But the tradeoff would have been the guaranteed misery (in the short or long term) that the extra spending would cost Americans; misery that would be wasted in the event that it was not necessary.

As the Crooked Timber people have said, war is an inherently unpredictable beast. Hence you only go to war when absolutely necessary.

I don't consider Rumsfeld incompetent for failing to anticipate the aftermath. He felt the cost of insurance too great for the risk. Instead, I consider him incompetent for his conduct of the troops he did have, and for failing to change his strategy when the reality of the insurgency became obvious.

#30 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:45 AM:

As an addendum: While people might criticize Rumsfeld for not buying insurance in Iraq, I should point out possibility of war with Iran would be an example of buying insurance.

There is some chance that America will one day face a nuclear strike as a consequence of Iran getting the bomb. No-one can realistically say what that chance is, but it is certainly greater than zero.

So, is the cost of insurance against this possibility (invading Iran) worth it? We can be pretty certain the economic cost alone would be catastrophic, but how much is the insurance worth?

A decision that I'm glad I don't have to make. (Think about it, you either have a war and plunge the world into a catastrophic depression causing untold misery to millions or billions, or you don't, in which case you spend the rest of your days wondering if you've doomed the world to nuclear annihilation in 30 years... Yick.)

#31 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:55 AM:

""The implication that if you stop killing or capturing people who are trying to kill you, then therefore the world would be a better place, is obviously nonsensical.""

This little meme has been getting a big push recently, enough so that it's starting to filter down into local letters to the editor. The message is simple: Democrats are moronically out of touch, have no answers, and are completely unable to protect you against the terrorists, the people who are trying to kill you. You have nothing to fear except voting for Democrats.

An equally important purpose is to try to immunize the wavering faithful against revelations that the Administration's actions have needlessly and recklessly increased the threat of terrorism.

#32 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 08:01 AM:

"Come join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
And rouse your bold hearts at fair Liberty's call;
No tyrannous acts, shall suppress your just claim,
Or stain with dishonor America's name...

Then join hand in hand brave Americans all,
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall;
In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed,
For Heaven approves of each generous deed.

All ages shall speak with amaze and applause,
Of the courage we'll show in support of our laws;
To die we can bear, - but to serve we disdain,
For shame is to freemen more dreadful than pain..."

(From The Liberty Song, circa 1770)

#33 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 08:13 AM:

"I suggest slightly altering your headline to "Man-o'-War," which would indicate how spineless and toxic he is."

The coelenterate community* would be up in arms at this remark. . . . if they had any. Although given that often have long dangling tentacles lined with countless stinging nematocysts . . .

* Yes, yes, the proper term would be Cnidarian-American . . .**

** I never knew that the Portuguese Man o' War not only wasn't a jellyfish, but was actually a close-knit colony rather than an individual organism . . . wow. And really, the wikipedia description of the Scyphozoa fits a lot better;

To compensate for its lack of basic sensory organs and a brain, the jellyfish exploits its nervous system and rhopalia to perceive stimuli, such as light or odor, and orchestrate expedient responses . . . Jellyfish have an incomplete digestive system, meaning that the same orifice is used for both food intake and waste expulsion.
#34 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 09:19 AM:

Dan S, I think that the Portuguese Man o' War was maybe what we were thinking of -it's certainly what came to my mind, when the 'alteration' was suggested!

#35 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 09:47 AM:

Insurance? In Iran?

Compare the costs ten years after the event, of these two events:

A peaceful, democratic United States, bulwark of freedom, defender of human rights, city on the hill, light of liberty, is attacked by a nuclear Iran. The United States, wounded but not killed, backed by a worldwide coaltion, replaces Iran's government.

A United States that tortures its prisoners, spies on its citizens, and starts preemptive wars starts yet another war against yet another Middle Eastern state, going it alone because not even Tony Blair can muster up the support to follow him.

Where are we, ecomically, physically, morally, and in terms of absolute numbers of dead Americans ten years down the road?

That's an insurance policy I don't want to buy.

(As to "insurance" in Iraq -- going in with a plan that included "now a miracle happens" as one of its operational items might not have been the best idea. I wouldn't buy that policy. Would you?)

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 10:25 AM:

Add to Jim's post, that if we hadn't started a war in Iraq, we'd be in a lot less danger of getting nuked somewhere down the road, by Iran or someone else.

The message this administration sends on nukes seems to be 'If you don't have one, we'll attack you to keep you from getting one. If you do have one, we'll leave you alone.' And then they're surprised when countries want nukes?

#37 ::: Scott D-S ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 10:45 AM:

Ajay @ #23:

The problem is that the Brits typically didn't put anything below a 3rd rate (a 74 two-decker) in the line of battle, at least not when it counted. The lesser rates were relegated to relaying signals and fighting similar level ships that the enemy might have at the battle.

The US, on the other hand, has elected 6th-rate leaders who aren't even qualified to lead (or appoint others to lead) their armed forces to guard a bordello - with the obvious line to finish that phrase. With the results you might expect.

#38 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 12:05 PM:

Tom West:

Speaking as someone who went through ROTC, spent six years in the military, and eight years more in the defense industy as a command, control, and communications analyst and designer after getting out of the Air Force:

You have your head wedged up your ass.

Anybody who refuses to do the sort of planning and carrying out of administrative operations that e.g. Marshall did for administering Germany as the tides of war turned and the Allied invasion went forward taking ground, is one or more of:

a) a vicious piece of vengeful slime (WWI was the cause of WWII, because the victorious countries were so punitive against the losers, setting up the conditions that engendered the Third Reich and its hegemoniac activities),

b) an incompetent and/or a moron,

c) a carpetbagger who's involved in setting up to get rich quick by exploiting the situation,

d) someone with credo who sees nothing but their warped view of reality, someone living in a fantasy world who rejects input that disagrees with what they believe

d) a shill/astroturfer/stoolie/willing catspaw,

The Marshall Plan presided over the reconstruction and revamping of lands the the USA got jurisdiction over or was involved with rebuilding in. The central ideas were that a strong economy, decent wages and jobs in non-military civilian industry and business, self-respect and respect from others, human dignity, allowing human dignity to the losers in a conflict, and spending time and effort and investment money into reconstruction and rebuilding society based on peaceful economy and borders and mutual respect for the neighbors, would END the violence and the hatred and the generation-after-generation wars ravaging Europe and spreading to the rest of the planet.

And guess what, it WORKED. It's been two FULL generations (more than 60 years) since the end of WWII, and there has NOT been another war involving war among any of Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, or Slovakia with one another. Former Czechoslovakia suffered under the Soviet client state status after WWII, but it was also not a country (or countries...) with the Marshall Plan involved.

The wars in the Balkans were outside the area that the Marshall Plan operated in, when Tito died, much like when Rumsfeld the beat effected the removal of Saddam from power in Iraq, the long-held festering ethnic hatreds re-emerged as violent intolerance, mass atrocity, escalating tit-for-tat atrocity, escalating intolerance and atrocity, and bloody, atrocity-as-tactic mass explusion.

Compare Sarajevo and Baghdad.... and what happens when the removal occurs of "the meanest son of a bitch in the valley" ruling by fear of others of reprisals against them if they act up or try to overthrow the top tyrant (the others being anyone from underground democrat to wannabee Top Tyrant). All the wannabees start fighting it out in the open. Look at Afghanistan post-Soviet withdrawl. The USA didn't have the courtesy, guts, decency, and interest to invest in nation building... instead it had handed weapons and training in violence over to Osama bin Laden et all, and then decamped, providing no economic rebuilding aid, no moral leadership of the sort of showing by example how to build and tolerant peaceful economically and socially stable society.

Physicians for Human Rights kept begging the US Government to intervene in Afghanistan to alleviate the misery and human rights offenses occurring there, to send people to get the economy going again, rebuild the water distribution system and agriculture, suppress the armed thugs fighting it out with one another and intimidating everyone out with US-donated and captured Soviet weapons.... the US Government, which was mostly increasingly PoliceStateParty Republican-dominated over the past 40 or so years (ever since Nixon got voted in... yes, there was Democratic Congressional majority for much of it, but Tricky Dick until hubris got him, had the final say most of the time, and the PSPs were taking over the Republican party, to where they got full overt control of Congress the lone years that a Democrat got the Presidency since Vietnam tanked Johnson.

PSPs, of course, were completely averse to intervening anywhere to end atrocities that wasn't part of their credo. It wasn't to end atrocity that they went after Saddam. I don't know why they wound up fixating on Saddam--they certainly supported him back during the Iran-Iraq war and prevented him from being ousted back then, they refused to remove himn in the Gulf War, and they refused to provide assistance and protection for the Shi'ites they had instigated to rebel against Saddam after the Gulf War. It's fully justified to me, Shi'ites hating the guts of the USA or at least the US Government, for inciting them to rebel, and then letting them be slaughtered, massacred, the marshes so many of them depended on for their entire way of life and heritage to be destroyed without objection to interference, and a million Marsh Arabs driven to exile taking refuge in Iran.

That is ALL the fault of George Herbert Walker Bush.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 02:25 PM:

I would object to calling Rumsfeld a man of war on the grounds that this insults the Portuguese.

Rumsfeld is not even a man of the military, since he doesn't seem to understand what that would require (like not going to war unless it's necessary, or fighting a war with the resources you need).

Confucius said the gentleman seeks benevolence, while the small man seeks profit. Old Kong would have found Rummy the smallest of small men.

#40 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 02:34 PM:

Sure he's a man of war - he's a jellyfish. No spine, full of venom, with tentacles that reach everywhere.

#41 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 02:56 PM:

excuse Mr. Rumsfeld, but I think that people here overestimate the ability of anyone to predict what happens in war.

Er, right, you do realize that General Shinseki, whose job it was to predict the level of troops needed for an occupation, told everyone that it would take 300 to 400 thousand troops to secure Iraq and prevent civil war. And he did this before the invasion began.

In response to this, the administration named Shinseki's replacement a year earlier than scheduled. Why? Because the US public would not have gone along with a war with those numbers. So they fired him and said, no, we should be able to occupy Iraq with the same level of force it took to invade it.

Pretty much everyone who's not an apologist, an idiot, or a brainless twit, admits that Shinseki's prediction was exactly right.

So don't give me this stupid crap about "no one could predict". people did predict. It was their job to predict. They nailed it exactly right. And the administration didn't want to hear it, because it would have meant they wouldn't be able to invade, so they fired the guy as an example.


#42 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 03:06 PM:

A United States that tortures its prisoners, spies on its citizens, and starts preemptive wars starts yet another war against yet another Middle Eastern state, going it alone because not even Tony Blair can muster up the support to follow him.

I'm not certain that an invasion of Iran (say under a Democrat administration) would have to include the torture and the spying. But you're absolutely right about the economic and moral costs.

My nightmare scenario would be 30 rather than 10 years down the road. Even if Iran didn't have ICBM's, it would be an Iranian theocracy staring defeat by popular revolt in the face, and having it launch 20-30 missiles at Russia and China...

*Then* the 150-500 missiles hit the USA courtesy of automatic reactions.

However, I'd certainly say that I'd be willing to risk the chance of that happening (0.1%, 1%, 5%?) against the certain costs of an invasion.

Luckily, it's not my problem. It's this and the next administration's.

Anybody who refuses to do the sort of planning and carrying out of administrative operations

Ms. Lieberman, the topic was about the predictions for a post-war insurgency, and my comments were directed to that. While the lack of post-war planning seems somewhere between odd and incompetent, it was beyond the scope of my comment.

To use a World War II analogy, the Allies were certainly aware of the possibility of post-war German resistance, especially in the South. However, they chose not to plan based on the possibility. (i.e. they didn't send every male German into a concentration camp, and rejected various other end-of-war proposals.) If resistance had occurred, would it have been proof of incompetence (even though others were predicting it)?

The post-war conduct of the campaign has been a fiasco, but irrelevant to my argument that you cannot predict outcomes in war (or in peace for that matter) and failing to do so is not grounds for claims of incompetence. Failing to adapt (or in your argument, failing to take initiatives that might have prevented the insurgency) is proof of incompetence. In that we are agreement.

I'm not certain the personal attack adds much to your argument, especially when your argument wasn't against the point I was trying to make.

#43 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 04:37 PM:

the topic was about the predictions for a post-war insurgency

erm, General Shinseki wasn't predicting 300,000 to 400,000 troops to direct traffic, sweep streets, or sing lullabyes. He was predicting that was the level of troops needed to keep an insurgency under control and keep the country from going full civil war.

How exactly can you say "people here overestimate the ability of anyone to predict what happens in war." when Shinseki's very job was to predict that number, predicted it to the tee he did, and fired for it by Rumsfeld he was, and not come across, as Paula pointed out, as having your head wedged up your ass?

What part of "Shinseki predicted exactly and Rumsfeld fired him" do you not understand?

The problem was not in the lack of skills of prediction. The problem was Rumsfeld knew if the american public heard it would take 300,000 to 400,000 US troops to occupy Iraq, for some indefinite period of time, then he wouldn't get his invasion he'd been masturbating about for the years prior.

#44 ::: Liam ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 05:30 PM:

Donnie was wrong and to a certain extent right. Central Iraq is a horrible mess. But I have been to the North and parts of the South and it is not.

Truth is it could all stop if one islamic faction (sunni) stopped slaughtering the other (shi'ah). Perhaps Donnie was silly enough to swallow something that the oft vexed liberal left swallows like the sweetest honey: Islam is a religion of peace. I won't swallow crap from any religion, but it seems I am the only liberal who won't.

Get real Saddam was a bastard, Iraq was a stupid adventure, but you're in there, get over it, get on with the job, stop all the pissing and moaning, don't turn a shitty mess into genocide. At least Iraqi's get off their butts to vote.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 05:49 PM:

Liam, I don't know anyone who believes that crsp about Islam being a religion of peace. We've been watching the Sunnite/Shi'ite infighting for how many years? - that's like the Catholics and the Protestants, or the Eastern and Western churches, and it's been going on for a thousand years.

#46 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:11 PM:

To use a World War II analogy, the Allies were certainly aware of the possibility of post-war German resistance, especially in the South. However, they chose not to plan based on the possibility. (i.e. they didn't send every male German into a concentration camp, and rejected various other end-of-war proposals.) If resistance had occurred, would it have been proof of incompetence (even though others were predicting it)?

More bullshit. Marshall's planning for and administration of Germany and the reconstruction that followed the planning PRECLUDED there being an insurgency. He planned and handled German military demobilization VERY differently that the complete miscreants who presided over the utterly vile post-invasion handling of Iraq. New York City without the streets policed and the libraries and museums and schools secured (they have alarm systems, they have people watching out for them, they have security guards...) would likely be looted, too. Look at the theft years ago at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which had an alarm system, and had guarding on it, thieves steal things anyway But taking away all civil policing of the streets of a city of 5 million people, and ordering the troops to stand by !! by looters break in and steal, is a major signal to thieves, arsonists, looters, and vandal to wreak as much the theft and vandalism and damage as they please, nobody's going to stop them or interfere.

THOSE THINGS --THE WHOLESALE LOOTING, ARSON, VIOLENCE-- DID NOT HAPPEN AFTER THE ALLIES CAPTURED BERLIN!!!

Had the Allies acted as the assholes at the top of the chain of command did, and let wholesale looting and mayhem occur, it -would- have occurred. There are many examples of allied commanders who went out their way to station troops to protect infrastructure and institutions--Patton's securing of the Spanish Riding School was one such example.

The examples set by the contemporary arrogant assholes, include having left munitions dumps with the high explosives which the IAEA had sealed off years ago, unprotected, allow looting not only of all the stockpiles of lower explosive power munitions and guns that Saddam had stockpiled, but of high explosives used for igniting nuclear weapons. The assholes did't just leave the schools and museums and archaelogical sites and libraries and government offices other than the Oil Ministry unprotected and unsecured, and fail to secure the military records which would have shown who was in the R-something-other Guards who were the Iraqi equivalent of the SS and make sure that they got incarcerated and kept off the streets

(the assholes refused to allow and implement such standard practices following a war/successful invasion as rounding up the soldiers and putting putting them in camps and going through a demobilization based on identifying who the problems/likely problems were going to be and keeping them locked up preparatory to arranging war crimes trials for the problems....)

the asshole left the military equipment out for anyone to take and use for whatever antisocial acts they might feel like engaging in in the future!

I repeat, you have your head wedged up your ass.

Narrowly little boxes of "you failed to specify exactly..." tend to be a very BIG problem, can't see the forest is dying because you focus on individual particular trees and aren't INTERESTED in looking at anything SYSTEMATIC.

I repeat, I worked in SYSTEMS. People who jumped down into a box were problems... because they never looked OUTSIDE their damned boxes to notice that their assumptions were utter bullshit.


Years ago, I lost my temper posting on-line here about the assholes in the US Government committing WARCRIMES with their failure to secure museums and libraries and power systems etc. etc.

I don't feel like repeating it, if it's archived on Making LIght, it's all here... or maybe it's in Googlecache...

#47 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:15 PM:

there are various omissions of words in the above, notably

Had the Allies acted as the assholes at the top of the chain of command did, and let wholesale looting and mayhem occur, it -would- have occurred. There are many examples of allied commanders who went out their way to station troops to protect infrastructure and institutions--Patton's securing of the Spanish Riding School was one such example.

should read

Had the Allies acted as the contemporary assholes (the Lout, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, etc.) at the top of the chain of command did, and let wholesale looting and mayhem occur, it -would- have occurred. There are many examples of allied commanders who went out their way to station troops to protect infrastructure and institutions--Patton's securing of the Spanish Riding School was one such example.

#48 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:48 PM:

Perhaps Donnie was silly enough to swallow something that the oft vexed liberal left swallows like the sweetest honey: Islam is a religion of peace. I won't swallow crap from any religion, but it seems I am the only liberal who won't

The off vexed GIANT FEWKING STRAWMAN. Name one person here who's sincerley used that language.

I double-dog-dare you.

but it seems I am the only liberal who won't.

It smells an lot like some sort of sock puppet/troll crossbreed in here.

#49 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 07:58 PM:

" . . . my argument that you cannot predict outcomes in war (or in peace for that matter) and failing to do so is not grounds for claims of incompetence."

This statement is wildly at odds with actual reality. We predict outcomes all the time, from whether to take an umbrella along when we leave the house to getting married to making investments to deciding whether or not to support this or that rush to war. Certainly our predictions are rarely perfect, but the other side of that is the more serious the situation, the more effort, common sense demands, that we make to see possible outcomes. Indeed, all sorts of folks were busy, based on good ol' reality-based thinking, predicting pretty much at least the outlines of what has come to pass. It's actually quite striking.

"Truth is it could all stop if one islamic faction (sunni) stopped slaughtering the other (shi'ah). Perhaps Donnie was silly enough to swallow something that the oft vexed liberal left swallows like the sweetest honey: Islam is a religion of peace."

My understanding is that what we're seeing is less a religious conflict per se and more a case of factional strife over resources, power, revenge & retribution, etc. that mostly happens to be built over religious differences. If I'm wrong here, please set me straight.

#50 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 08:07 PM:

Perhaps Donnie was silly enough to swallow something that the oft vexed liberal left swallows like the sweetest honey: Islam is a religion of peace.

I believe that Islam is a religion of peace to almost exactly the same extent that I believe Christianity is a religion of peace. Or, for that matter, Buddhism or Hinduism are religions of peace. Which is to say: it depends entirely on the practitioner.

#51 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 08:07 PM:

"some sort of sock puppet/troll crossbreed in here."

The image that comes to mind is of a doubleknit troll puppet. Hey, I'd buy one!

I've been amusing myself with wikipedia today, and oddly enough the sock entry notes that one alternative use is

When filled with rocks, or other hard objects, as a rudimentary weapon.

Which is true, but slightly unexpected.

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 08:57 PM:

Dan S: the really basic version of a cosh (non-mathematical variety).

#53 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 09:44 PM:

It is worth pointing out that there was indeed post-war planning, 13 volumes of it. It was done by the State department and deemed politically unacceptable be Rumsfeld. Not only did he fail to use it, Rumsfeld refused to let General Garner bring hire an assistant who had worked on it.

If you invade Russia in the fall and General Winter freezes you out, my "I told you so" is not a matter of random darts happening to hit the right answer. Neither are the criticisms of how the Iraq war has handled. One major difference between World War II and Gulf War II is that in the former, generals who screwed up were replaced. In the latter, the Bush administration continues to select loyalty over competence.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 10:01 PM:

the Bush administration continues to select loyalty over competence.

Oooh, yeah. I've been looking at the Abramoff e-mails. He was a go-between for a lot of people looking for high-up jobs - he was a good buddy of Rove and Ralph Reed - and some of the e-mails make it clear that being a good conservative Republican was a major factor in getting hired.

#55 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2006, 11:01 PM:

Mr. London, having googled for the articles, I think you'll find General Shinseki somewhat vaguer, except when pressed. He didn't have a crystal ball either, although he obviously was closer to the truth than Rumsfeld. However, both were, at best, guestimates. (And there was tremendous variance in the estimates. Quite a number of fairly knowledgable people were pulling for 70-100K soldiers (!)). I'll also point out that we have no way of knowing whether Shinseki was accurate. There's a good chance (especially given how badly post war operations were run) that 400,000 troops would not be sufficient either.

Secondly, to determine whether he actually disagreed with Rumsfeld, he'd have to be willing to justify his numbers. 400K could mean (1) we need 400K to prevent a 10% chance of an insurgency breaking out or (2) we need 400K because that's the only way we'll survive the insurgency that *will* occur or (3) if we don't have 400K, then there will be an insurgency.

If he honestly felt either (2) or (3) (i.e. that the operation was doomed without the 400K force level), then he should have resigned immediately. Far more likely is that he was guessing with the rest of us, and felt 400K would place the odds far more in our favor.

Remember, we could also criticize Rumsfeld for cancelling the Crusader artillery system that Shinseki pulled hard for. Was Rumsfeld equally foolish for turning that down as well, given it was supported by the one person who should absolutely know whether it's a necessity or not? I'll also point out that I had a lot of sympathy for Clinton when he tried to ignore the advice of his Chief of Staff on certain military policies.

Again, there's lots of guesses here, and the fact is that Rumsfeld's guess was wrong. But Paula Lieberman's point oddly enough leads to the possibility that Rumsfeld *might* have been right about required force levels if he had been competent about post war operations.

As for attributing the motivations for war to (essentially) pure evil, I'd be very careful not to attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity (or perhaps more accurately, wrong-headedness). Doing so is simply a gift to those whose ideas and policies you would contest.

Ms. Lieberman, since this is not a topic you can address without profanity and personal attacks, I'll let it rest. While you bring up some interesting points, I don't think it is in either of our interests to exchange viewpoints on a subject that is too close to you personally for you to be able to do so civilly.

I cede this topic to you.

#56 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 12:16 AM:

And yet more bullshit--and anyone who can't deal with that term, probably hasn't had much dealings with military stuff dealing with people who are in or who have been in the military. I knew a few senior officers who didn't use the term bullshit. I also knew some who sometimes uttered sentences that wouldn't have gotten fined by the FCC...

There are certain KNOWN equations, they include how many people it takes to guard installations of certain sizes. The US Government did have a significant amount of information about Iraq's weapons and munitions stockpiles, particularly the ones the USA sold Iraq. The USA had information about Iraqi infrastructure of power facilites, water, oil production, etc--the US Government does various studies/publications every from the CIA and the State Department regarding things like national power generation capability and consumption, oil production, gross national product, per capita income, etc.

The US Government had information about Iraq's museums (and there was a delegation of archaelogists who begged the US Government to protect the museums and archaeological sites, the archaelogists were fearful that the Lout and his buddies weren't going to lift their fingers or allow other fingers to be lifted to protect archaeological sites and artifacts, and they alas were quite correct about that), archaeological site, military installations, waterworks, power generation facilities... and did essentially NOTHING to secure them againt attack, theft, looting, vandalism.... the Geneva Conventions states that is the responsibility of those who take control, to preserve such things. Lout and his buddies, in not bothering to do so, committed war crimes.

Those sorts of things tend to tick people off, who get angry seeing someone fail to provide guarding of museums and libraries and schools and power distribution systems, fail to keep the sewer system and waterworks working, fail to bother to police the street and suppress vandals and thugs and kidnappers and murderers until the international press starts embarrassing the authorities of the invaders, by to the world transmitting video showing the crimes being committed and the invader army doing nothing whatsoever to prevent or stop the crime.

It's completely and utterly predictable that the populace of the invaded country are going to get upset, furious, and decide to attack the occupying army for doing NOTHING to stop the burning of what may have been more than TWO MILLION books and sets of records (I never saw the full accounting. But archives that went back to when the Mongols sacked Baghdad and threw the books into the river, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, were looted and then burned. Iraqis pleaded for the Coalition to provide guards for the libraries and archives and museums and archaelogical sites and government offices and schools... Schmuck wasn;t the least bit interested, again, until the international condemnation hit, after the ransacking and torchings. The devastation included university libraries, which had had 2 million volumes before the invasion. After the "celebration" of being rid of Saddam, those libraries had been ransacks and at least partially burned. The site that was keeping track of the damage to libraries and archives, eventually stopped doing updates.

I listed that reference back in 2002...

The State Department had plans, they were summarily squashed/dismissed by the Lout out of hand. Keeping civil order takes cops, but Lout and the advisors he listened to didn;t want to bring in police and do mundane things like bring in people used to running civilian infrastructure and hiring and training people to give them jobs earning income and keep them from being unemployed no-income no-stake-in-society-which-has-no-valued-place-for-them terrorist-recruitment fodder...

What conditions creates terrorist is NOT news to COMPETENT people. Political science class 101 at MIT back when I was a freshman, went over the causes of insurgencies... basically, a country where people are reasonably satisfied with their lives, where the unemployment rate is low, where there isn't a huge level of inequity from social class to social class, and where people in the middle feel that they aren't being -blocked- from influence and wealth and power, is one that insurgencies have very difficult times putting down roots into.

It's not the completely downtrodden poor who create revolutions, it's people with aspirations who get to a certain point and have their dreams smashed... they're the ones who become revolutionaries and terrorists, the status quo offers them no opportunity to find self-actualization, so they turn to restructuring the society into one where they get to be ontop and make the rules and have the power and wealth and control.

The unemployment rate in Iraq for young men is something like at least 50%--which is a clear danger signal. Youth who are alienated and have no value to society/don't have enough value to have positions that the feel they're valued, wanted, and have a worthwhile place in society, easily turn their frustrations into violence--be it youth in Newark when it was at its worst, or in Cairo, or in Baghdad.... the society;s not providing anything worthwhile to them, so they attack it. On the other hand, the recruiting radical organizations, be they the Army of God in the USA out recruited disaffected while males feeling disempowered, or Al Qaeda, or Shining Path, or whatever the organization is in the Philippines, or back long ago the Bolsheviks, or Mao's group, or Pol Pot's group, want the disaffected, because the disaffected are upset and angry and looking for a Cause, and/or loot in various cases.

The radical organizations, and gangs, for that matter, provide food, shelter, clothing, a sense of belonging- and being valued and wanted--those are very strong drivers and characteristics which inspire particular youth who don't have strong positive ties in their lives, to join up with the organizations, and be loyal to them.

#57 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 12:31 AM:

You punk-assed beotch.

You're google foo is not strong.

Of course it probably helps that you do not wish to find the answers. In that arena, I shall help you defeat yourself. The information you so keenly were unwilling to find is posted here.

You want to select the year 2003 and then slide on down to February 25. Or, if that's too much for your technically challenged troll brain, just type "Shinseki" in the search window at the bottom of the main page and it should take you there.

Assuming of course, you're subconscious does not revolt, causing your fingers to convulse and always spell it with a typo.

And in case all that is beyond your orc brain, I'll include the CNN ARTICLE THAT THIS LINKS TO:

The article is here. Your nervous system will likely spasm as you try to click on that, so I paste the important text below:

Listen to what he said. I'll read it to you: "I would say what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required" -- several hundred thousand soldiers.


And as far as "justifying his numbers", it's interesting that the fact that he was right and Rumsfeld had his head up his ass doesn't mean anything to you. But then, you appear to suffer the same head-ass affliction that Rumsfeld suffers, so perhaps that's part of your sympathy.

Did Rumsfeld justify his numbers? no. he suppressed everything that resembled analysis and simply said whatever number he thought the american public would still let him have the war.

And though your trollish behaviour allows you to keep shifting the issues, lets go back to the original, shall we? Your moronic head-up-ass brain, suffereing from a lack of oxygen and possibly an overdose of methane, made this genius of a comment:

excuse Mr. Rumsfeld, but I think that people here overestimate the ability of anyone to predict what happens in war.

And the fact is that Shinseki's job was to predict that number. And that his prediction has been proved correct. Three months after Shinseki made that prediction, the Army secratary said he was correct. You can read that article here.

And since you're likely going through epyleptic fits about now, I'll post the relevant text:

Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark." Rumsfeld was furious with White when the Army secretary agreed with Shinseki.

June 2003, the invasion is over and the occupation begun, adn the Army Secratary, White, says Shinseki was correct.

And what does Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz do? They go apeshit on White.

And as it turns out, Shinseki and White and just about anyone who didn't have a political motive to shove this war down the American Public's throat thought this war was goign to take a lot more people to maintain any sort of peace. The only ones who screamed at those numbers were the folks who wanted this war no matter what. That was their justification, not facts, but politics.

troll on, Mr. West.

#58 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 12:32 AM:

You punk-assed beotch.

You're google foo is not strong.

Of course it probably helps that you do not wish to find the answers. In that arena, I shall help you defeat yourself. The information you so keenly were unwilling to find is posted http://www.motherjones.com/bush_war_timeline/

You want to select the year 2003 and then slide on down to February 25. Or, if that's too much for your technically challenged troll brain, just type "Shinseki" in the search window at the bottom of the main page and it should take you there.

Assuming of course, you're subconscious does not revolt, causing your fingers to convulse and always spell it with a typo.

And in case all that is beyond your orc brain, I'll include the CNN ARTICLE THAT THIS LINKS TO:

The article is http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/14/wbr.01.html. Your nervous system will likely spasm as you try to click on that, so I paste the important text below:

Listen to what he said. I'll read it to you: "I would say what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required" -- several hundred thousand soldiers.


And as far as "justifying his numbers", it's interesting that the fact that he was right and Rumsfeld had his head up his ass doesn't mean anything to you. But then, you appear to suffer the same head-ass affliction that Rumsfeld suffers, so perhaps that's part of your sympathy.

Did Rumsfeld justify his numbers? no. he suppressed everything that resembled analysis and simply said whatever number he thought the american public would still let him have the war.

And though your trollish behaviour allows you to keep shifting the issues, lets go back to the original, shall we? Your moronic head-up-ass brain, suffereing from a lack of oxygen and possibly an overdose of methane, made this genius of a comment:

excuse Mr. Rumsfeld, but I think that people here overestimate the ability of anyone to predict what happens in war.

And the fact is that Shinseki's job was to predict that number. And that his prediction has been proved correct. Three months after Shinseki made that prediction, the Army secratary said he was correct. You can read that article here http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-06-02-white-usat_x.htm

And since you're likely going through epyleptic fits about now, I'll post the relevant text:

Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark." Rumsfeld was furious with White when the Army secretary agreed with Shinseki.

June 2003, the invasion is over and the occupation begun, adn the Army Secratary, White, says Shinseki was correct.

And what does Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz do? They go apeshit on White.

And as it turns out, Shinseki and White and just about anyone who didn't have a political motive to shove this war down the American Public's throat thought this war was goign to take a lot more people to maintain any sort of peace. The only ones who screamed at those numbers were the folks who wanted this war no matter what. That was their justification, not facts, but politics.

troll on, Mr. West.

#59 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 12:46 AM:

Ah crap. too many URL's, my post has been put under the wait for approval list...

Here's the short version.

Go here. And then go to February 25, 2003.

You'll see Shinseki mentioned and his numbers.

there are two hyperlinks in that description. Click on them. One is a CNN transcript. the other is a USA Today article.

Obviously, Mr. West, you didn't want to find the information.

As for Shinseki "justifying" his numbers, read the article again. The Army Secretary agrees with him four months later, when the invasion is over and the occupation begins. Rumsfeld still denies it, and the Secretary leaves the pentagon. In the end, Shinseki's numbers are justified by reality.

And what did Rumsfeld do to justify his numbers? Nothing. They were based on a simple calculus. The American public would not have let him have his war if they had been told upfront we'd need half a million soldiers occupying Iraq for some undetermined amount of time. Donnie didn't care about reality. He cared about crafting a pitch the American people would swallow.

#60 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 09:34 AM:

Ms. Lieberman. Okay, I lied - I'll reply.

Look, I think we're talking past each other. I'm in *complete* agreement with just about everything you've said. In fact, there's no question in my mind that 500,000 troops would have failed because the US army didn't even attempt to use the troops that it *did* have to stop the looting.

Your arguments are cogent and correct. (Well except for Berlin. The Soviets chose the *other* path for insuring that there was no resistence...)

My central thesis about this topic *is* a little box, but again we're in agreement about the whole system (i.e. the American post-war program was handled incompetently). However, the topic was a specific point, and one that I disagreed with.

As for language, I've worked with the military enough to be aware of the language of the field. This is not the field. As a public forum, you are going "on air", which means that it is usual to temper one's vocabulary for the least common denominator.

My assumption that in such a forum, profanity is associated with upset, which is certainly not my intent, especially since my point is not a large one in the greater scheme of things.

Mr. London,

Obviously, Mr. West, you didn't want to find the information.

Actually, I *did* find the information. It didn't answer my question about where those numbers came from, and I would consider that central to my point about Rumsfeld's choice to ignore them.

Off topic here, but a little more disturbingly, is the attitude that seems to exist towards anyone willing to debate any point brought up here, and one I find deeply pernicious.

Any public forum such as a blog is an attempt to influence others, to communicate ideas. When contempt is heaped upon any who disagree, it makes it clear that one is not interested in communication or seeing the furtherance of one's ideas, but actually attempting to shut others out. Even worse, it acts to drive people back to the camps from whence they came.

In other words, I consider such reactions to be a disservice to the ideas and concepts that are espoused here. Since I agree with a great majority of them, it rather irks me to find a bunch of like-minded people working against their success.

Once again, the assumption of malice instead of stupidity (in this case my own) does one's cause harm.

#61 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 12:36 PM:

Mr. West: It appears to me that one difference between you and Ms. Lieberman is that she believes that there are moral values higher than civility. It seems to me that you find her rudeness toward you more disturbing than the unnecessary death and destruction wreaked by the US in Iraq - and there we're going to have to agree to disagree.

You've set up (and repeated) your false dichotomy of malice and stupidity a few times. There's no reason why people can't be afflicted with both, and there are other reasons for resolute wrongness - ignorance, for instance.

Let's set aside the issue of troop numbers, except to point out that the 150K figure was a compromise, and at one point Rumsfeld endorsed a 50K plan. Why the difference in troop strength? Well, it may surprise you to know that Iraq is not the first country ever occupied after a war. (I am trying to assume stupidity instead of malice, to make you feel better.) The OPLAN 1003-98 (a good Google term) presented by Franks took into account occupier to occupied ratios from operations such as Kosovo, or Malasyia, or Northern Ireland.

The thing is, most of these troops wouldn't have been doing anything terribly complicated. Sitting on intersections, guarding munitions stockpiles, enforcing public order, and maybe even keeping nuclear facilities from being looted. It could have been accomplished by third world auxiliaries, if only someone hadn't alienated a whole passel of allies - including Turkey, closing a second front. (Malice or stupidty? I'll choose arrogance there.)

Okay, that was a longer discussion of troop strength than I intended, but here's the point I wanted to make: before the war, after a decade of agitating for it, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfwitz said that Iraq would be an easy occupation. After all, it didn't have a history of ethnic conflicts (like the Balkans) and it didn't have the baggage of Islamic holy cities (like Saudi Arabia).

Now, I speculate that you would have wanted to civilly agree that a lot of people had a lot of opinions about whether or not there had been any ethnic conflicts in Iraq, or whether or not Iraq's holy cities were holy cities of Islam or not. In my opinion, the proper response is to ask for Wolfowitz's resignation and then burn out whatever stupid he infected the organization with.

Even if that hurts someone's feelings.

#62 ::: liam ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 01:54 PM:

"It smells an lot like some sort of sock puppet/troll crossbreed in here"

Ho ho ho. I love it. Don't argue the points get into personal insults. The internet a great place to debate and discuss. Shit no. I am better of talking to my 13 year old neice at least she has an inkling that dialogue often involves people disagreeing with each other.

In fact that kind of attitude maybe illustrates why the west should not be invading other countries to impose democracy on them: we westerners can't even debate issues without descending into insults. What a depressing state of affairs.

#63 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 01:54 PM:

When discussing pillage,
We must be polite
Never use a swear word,
Always sound just right.

Meet the civil standard
Shut our ears to pain
Talk of death and torture
Like we discuss rain.

#64 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 02:04 PM:

Different subcultures have differing standard vocabularies. One of my new coworkers was describing the language used by retired senior NCOs at one of the places he had worked at...

There was a skit long ago called "What the Captain said," from the Vietnam era, involving the person doing the skit, pretending to be two people--a fighter pilot (the Captain), and a Public Affairs Officer, "translating" what the captain said into bowderlized, made more polite wording....

#65 ::: Liam ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 02:06 PM:

"The radical organizations, and gangs, for that matter, provide food, shelter, clothing, a sense of belonging- and being valued and wanted--those are very strong drivers and characteristics which inspire particular youth "

And not only that they are not the occupiers. Most people well rebel against any form of occupation. If the job was to take Saddam out then it's been done. The only people that can save Iraq are Iraqis and they might not want to. Perhaps the result of the war will be the splitting up of Iraq into the three provinces it really is. Iran will be the big winner. Something that will cause old Rummy to spin in his grave (when he goes) for years and years.

#66 ::: Liam ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 02:46 PM:

"Talk of death and torture
Like we discuss rain."

I don't expect politeness but do you really think that a discussion works when one person makes a point and the the other repsonds with an insult. That denegrates the importance of the issue. If you really care about the issue stick to it. Otherwise you are bullshitting yourself as much as anyone else.

To be frank if I was talking to someone in person and they called me a troll I would give them a swift left hook. That's the beauty of the internet for tossers they can vent their tossy little spleens at all and sundry without any consequence.

#67 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 03:26 PM:

Liam,

I can hardly write a poem in a minute. The poem had nothing to do with you.

#68 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 04:43 PM:

Liam #64: "To be frank if I was talking to someone in person and they called me a troll I would give them a swift left hook. That's the beauty of the internet for tossers they can vent their tossy little spleens at all and sundry without any consequence."

So violence in defence of your opinions is fine, but anyone who disagrees with you is a tosser? It sounds to me as if you carry your bridge around with you.

#69 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 05:38 PM:

#8 Actually, Rumsfeld seems to have run the whole thing rather like a second-rate management consultant coming into a new firm; get rid of as many staff as you can, think only in the short-term, and ignore what the people there before you advise.

I am reminded of Jim's Annual Hypothermia Lecture: Listen to the natives. They're the ones who will have to go out and rescue you.

----
Logistics is the heart of warfighting

Which is why I always felt the way to destroy the Death Star was infiltrate the Shipping Department. You can't build the thing if your parts got shipped to the Outer Wastes.

Also reminds me of the "emergency stores" a prior employer put together. It was stockpiled by a gay guy who very obviously had no use for women, and thus did not supply sanitary supplies for women. Cigarettes, yes. Sanitary supplies, no. At least not until I yelped.

#70 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 05:41 PM:

they can vent their tossy little spleens at all and sundry without any consequence

Not true. Teresa can disemvowel you.

#71 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 06:18 PM:

"Which is why I always felt the way to destroy the Death Star was infiltrate the Shipping Department."

Actually, it was.

This is why the storm troopers in the original movie were so easy to mow down. They were shipped lightweight dress armor, meant for use when parading on inconveniently warm planets.

Also, none of the ladies' rooms on the Death Star had feminine hygeine supplies. All of the shipments were diverted to Bos Hykkanni, whose black market ships' provisioners now have a fifty years' supply and will gladly throw in a case or two with any purchase.

#72 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 09:37 PM:

I am imagining the off-Market chandlery on Bos Hykkani, where a tired loader even as we type is scrolling through his orders, just received from the head office:

For the ship Galactica Maru: 17 cases of MREs appropriately labeled for 7 Knn, 10 Gnorfians, and 6 Vorpals (in hibernation at the moment, but they will be very hungry indeed when they wake up),

6 cases of the Special Mark 1 Baddyzappers with the laser sight,

1 anti-matter drive, with warning labels,

4 crates of super-size Tampons.

I am picturing the Knn (who, as we all know, are methane breathers and emotionally, linguistically, and physically incomprehensible to humans) receiving the Tampons.

#73 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 09:56 PM:

I *did* find the information. It didn't answer my question about where those numbers came from, and I would consider that central to my point about Rumsfeld's choice to ignore them.

Off topic here, but a little more disturbingly, is the attitude that seems to exist towards anyone willing to debate any point brought up here, and one I find deeply pernicious.

Just a request, and I'm sure given your really looking to simply troll for reactions than anything else that I doubt this will do much, but if at all possible, could you please get over yourself?

Shinseki's job and the Army Secretary's job are to predict this sorts of numbers. That's what they do. Based on their years of experience.

Note: Generals

And you want to know where those numbers came from? Gee willikers Mrs Beaver, how do you think that Shuttle Expert came up with the notion that it would be unsafe to launch the shuttle when the temperature gets near freezing? He must have been pulling them out of his ass.

And because two generals with a couple decades experience a piece can't explain 40 years of collective wisdom to your sorry ass, you disbelieve?

When the doctor says you have cancer, and the second opinion is that you have bad cancer, do you doubt it until they can explain on a subatomic level how X-rays worked to show cancer or how the chemical reacitons in the blood tests worked to show cancer?

What you have exercised, Mr. West, is an assinine discretionary "I Disbelieve" card. And you present yourself as being quite reasonable to agree with what was presented to you as accurate and trustworthy, if only General Sinseki would come down and personally explain to your pathetic ass where those numbers came from.

And yet, you completely believe Rumsfeld. Why do you not show the same doubt in his response? Why do you doubt Shinseki and the army secratary, but cozy up to Rumsfeld and assume he made the right decision until someone can prove him wrong?

This is where your trolling, either by accident or on purpose, is revealed. You'd believe global warming, if only the scientists can explain it to you on the molecular level. You'd believe in evolution if only someone would explain it to you. But until that time, you'll simply have to do what's reasonable and disbelieve any assertions by experts, refuse to look at current facts staring at you in the face that prove Shinseki was right, and patiently wait until your selectively doubtful mind is satisfied.

#74 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 10:28 PM:

damn good poem, Nancy.

#75 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 10:31 PM:

But the knnn might leave the tampons on the dock at Meetpoint, or perhaps some kifish station, as trade item...

Or, imagine Tully having to explain to hani what they're for...

#76 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 11:31 PM:

Which is why I always felt the way to destroy the Death Star was infiltrate the Shipping Department

Wwwaahhgrrraagrrrah!

Yeah, Chewie, I don't think they had wookies in mind when they designed the Emperial Express cargo ships.

Grraaarrr!

Well, we're about to find out if this Freight access code was worth the trouble to get it.

Wwwhaahhaarrarrhaaahrrr!

Keep your distance, Chewie. We may have to make a run for it if their long range package bar code scanner goes south on us.

Raarara!

But don't look like your keeping your distance.

MMMmpprarararahh!

I don't know, fly casual.

#77 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2006, 11:32 PM:

Sorry, forgot to mention, that entire scene is played with Han and Chewie in UPS brown uniforms with shorts.

Finally, the wookie gets a loincloth...

#78 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 05:10 AM:

Or, imagine Tully having to explain to hani what they're for

"They're, ah, they're used for soaking up blood."

"Excellent! We'll take four crates!"

#79 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 06:42 AM:

Mr. West: It appears to me that one difference between you and Ms. Lieberman is that she believes that there are moral values higher than civility. It seems to me that you find her rudeness toward you more disturbing than the unnecessary death and destruction wreaked by the US in Iraq - and there we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Oh get real. My posting wasn't about the unnecessary death and destruction in Iraq. It was disputing the supporting evidence made by a claim in the topic header. If one cannot distinguish between the two, it makes it seem unlikely that one can cogently defend the suite of positions involved in Iraq.

Closer to my heart, I find the inability to muzzle one's outrage enough to engage in civil discourse to be an example of choosing to satisfy one's own emotional urges over a course of action that will (in some miniscule fashion) influence events in the direction that one wants to go.

It's like flinging a rock at Donald Rumsfeld's head. The tosser might feel good, but they've just cost their putative side 500,000 votes. I do consider it a form of selfishness. (My feelings are more important than the cause I claim to espouse.)

Now agreed that the attacks in the forum are an example of the above write very small indeed, but the principle is the same.

What is even more galling is that this is exactly how the right wing (apparently accurately) perceives us. Unable to defend our opinions with logic. Excluding anyone who doesn't already toe the party line, etc., etc.

I mostly comment in the right-wing boards because I disagree with 90% of what they say and thus have something meaningful to add. I force them to defend their points, and often enough they can't. Other times it comes down to fundamental differences. I have yet to be assailed in the same manner that I have here, and I can guarantee that my attacks are much more widespread there.

I may be over reacting, but the fact that one of my few posting on this part of blogosphere immediately brought a personal attack made me angry. Angry that some of the sharpest minds around are doing their best to betray their cause.

As for why I attack anything that I perceive as an unsupported attack? Because I don't believe in letting in the opposition discover one's weaknesses. Given that there are a plethora (geez, throw a dart and you can hardly miss) of ways to attack the current administration, choosing one that is difficult to support (that the insurgency was anticipated), seems pretty iffy, especially since in general you are judged by the strength of your *weakest* argument. (You lose credibility for each unsupported claim one makes.)

I certainly don't begrudge the topic being posted. But when one points out a weakness in the assertion, the appropriate responses are to either provide supporting evidence or at worst ignore it. (It's pretty rare in the blogosphere to have someone actually concede a point.) To be attacked *and* fail to bring up supporting evidence seems... weak.

Now, I speculate that you would have wanted to civilly agree that a lot of people had a lot of opinions about whether or not there had been any ethnic conflicts in Iraq, or whether or not Iraq's holy cities were holy cities of Islam or not. In my opinion, the proper response is to ask for Wolfowitz's resignation and then burn out whatever stupid he infected the organization with.

:-). I think we can agree that in any competent administration Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz would be *long* gone.

Even if that hurts someone's feelings.

One would hope. However, I'd expect the opposition to civilly bid him Adieu.

The problem with failing to treat one's adversaries with respect is that it makes it incredibly difficult to recruit one's adversaries former followers. You're forcing not only to admit that they were wrong, but that they were stupid for *ever* following. Getting the majority of Americans to admit that they were stupid is, let us say, a "challenging" task. And an unnecessary one, if one can keep one's loathing for the opposition on a short, private leash.

And thank you for the links. They were most informative. And not even any abuse :-). Much appreciated.

And because two generals with a couple decades experience a piece can't explain 40 years of collective wisdom to your sorry ass, you disbelieve?

Look, if you (or in this case the topic poster) are making attacks, it is incumbent upon you to have decent supporting evidence. The 400,000 figure is *only* relevant here if Shineski was anticipating an insurgency. If you cannot provide some backing evidence that this is the case, then the Shineski's figure is irrelevant to my challenge of the original topic's assertion.

You can claim Rumsfeld beats his dog, but if all you have for proof is that his dog limps and that he doesn't like animals, I'll call you on it.

If you want to defend the original post by saying that while we don't have any direct evidence, ignoring a General's advice that there *will* be an insurgency is well within Rumsfeld's character, I'll agree.

But don't pretend that you have an airtight case when all you have is circumstantial evidence, and then add personal attacks to the defence. It makes you look far more desperate than you have any cause to be.

#80 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 11:29 AM:

Re #42: "To use a World War II analogy, the Allies were certainly aware of the possibility of post-war German resistance, especially in the South. However, they chose not to plan based on the possibility. (i.e. they didn't send every male German into a concentration camp, and rejected various other end-of-war proposals.) If resistance had occurred, would it have been proof of incompetence (even though others were predicting it)?"

They did, however lock up a significant portion of the (surviving) German militarily-trained men. They were called prisoner of war camps, not concentration camps, but they got the population trained and capable of fighting locked up for a critical period of time.

By the time the men got out of POW camps, things were relatively stable and improved, and it would have been seen as restarting a settled conflict, not ongoing resistance in an ongoing conflict. A lot of the rebuilding work had been done by German civilians, as well (not sweet deals for US companies) so that the non-military population had a vested interest in the peaceful rebuilding.

Unlike Iraq, where the army was essentially fired and left unemployed and armed in the immediate post-war chaos.

If you bomb, invade and occupy someone's country, they're going to hate you. How bad their old government was or how nice you think you are, is almost irrelevant. Heck, a lot of people here really, really hate Bush, and don't think the Canadians are half-bad, but if the Canadians managed to invade and overthrow Bush, we'd oppose them.

The successful occupation of Germany and Japan post-WWII also involved a level of recognition on the part of the people in the occupied countries that they had started this mess and were in the wrong. As opposed to the occupations by Germany and Japan, on countries where the people felt they had been unjustifiably attacked and invaded, which inspired considerable resistance.

#81 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 12:09 PM:

Look, if you (or in this case the topic poster) are making attacks, it is incumbent upon you to have decent supporting evidence. The 400,000 figure is *only* relevant here if Shineski was anticipating an insurgency. If you cannot provide some backing evidence that this is the case, then the Shineski's figure is irrelevant to my challenge of the original topic's assertion.

Oh, my head. This is your point of contention?

I type "shinseki insurgency" into Google and hit #2 gives me:

"Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required," Shinseki told the same Senate Armed Service Committee. "We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems.

"And so it takes a significant ground-force presence to maintain a safe and secure environment, to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed, all the normal responsibilities that go along with administering a situation like this."

Hmm... he's worried about post-hostilities control in an an area rife with ethnic tension to maintain a safe and secure environment. And he's concerned, for some strange reason, with ministering to the civilian population.

Is this sufficient evidence, or did Shinseki have to use the word "insurgency" to win the magic prize? In six months, will you be saying the didn't predict things because he didn't use he phrase "civil war"? If this isn't sufficient for you, what do you think he meant by "post-hostilities control", or is that an unknownable unknown?

#82 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 01:30 PM:

Here's a great piece of logic: per the Washington Post (Bob Woodward, natch) apparently one of the reasons that GWB was so smug about the original appointment of Rumsfeld is that Bush Sr. didn't trust him or think he was competent, and Jr. was thrilled that he was going to prove Daddy wrong:

Rumsfeld and Bush's father, the former president, couldn't stand each other. Bush Senior didn't trust Rumsfeld and thought he was arrogant, self-important, too sure of himself and Machiavellian. Rumsfeld had also made nasty private remarks that the elder Bush was a lightweight.

Great motivation there.

#83 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Look, if you (or in this case the topic poster) are making attacks, it is incumbent upon you to have decent supporting evidence. The 400,000 figure is *only* relevant here if Shineski was anticipating an insurgency. If you cannot provide some backing evidence that this is the case, then the Shineski's figure is irrelevant to my challenge of the original topic's assertion.

Hey, asshole, I have proof that Rumsfeld specifically threaten to fire anyone at the pentagon who attempted to predict or plan for the occupation of Iraq.

What part of head up your ass do you not understand?

You claim Rumsfeld was right to disbelieve the numbers, because Shenseki didn't come forth and prove them to YOU. And you accept Rumsfeld was doing this all out of lack of scientific evidence, but you completely and conveniently ignore that Rumsfeld suppressed investigation and threatened anyone who tried to predict.

So get over yourself. Rumsfeld did not hear Shinseki and the Army Secretary give a number and disbelieve due to a lack of scientific, empirical evidence. Rumsfeld, from the beginning, did everything in his power to threaten and suppress any investigation and any information into what an occupation would require.

Go ahead and whine about the personal attacks, you worthless shite. Meanwhile, tell me you agree with Rumsfeld on empirical grounds, while you totally ignore Rumsfeld suppressed any and all attempts to investigate and predict.

You're applying "Selective skepticism", and you're an ass for doing so. You disbelieve Shinseki, claim a lack of empirical evidence, but ignore Rumsfeld completely non-scientific approach to the entire matter: investigate and I'll fire your ass.

But Rumsfeld is the scientific one here, right? He was truly objecting to Shinseki on completely objective grounds, wasn't he, you moron. Threatening to fire anyone who investigated what an occupation would entail is something the scientific community does all the time to encourage good research.

But don't pretend that you have an airtight case when all you have is circumstantial evidence, and then add personal attacks to the defence. It makes you look far more desperate than you have any cause to be.

Circumstantial evidence? You're an asshole and your mother dresses you funny. Is that better?

Rumsfeld threaten to fire anyone who tried to figure out what a post-invasion Iraq would look like or require to keep stable, you fucking moron. That isn't circumstantial evidence, that shows willful intent to suppress the truth, whatever the numbers turned out to be. That's as airtight as it needs to be. To look at threats to fire someone for investigating the truth and not conclude anythign other than Rumsfeld wanted to suppress the truth, is to stick your head up your ass.

You are an idiot.

#84 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2006, 02:32 PM:

Greg, take a deep breath and stop typing. You are accomplishing nothing of value here with this argument. It wastes your time and your energy.
Here, go look at some pictures that have nothing to do with this. Then go read some of the John M. Ford material Jim has harvested from various old threads.

#85 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 12:08 AM:

Mr. Yuggoth,

Hmm... he's worried about post-hostilities control in an an area rife with ethnic tension to maintain a safe and secure environment. And he's concerned, for some strange reason, with ministering to the civilian population.

nnnnn... Okay.

I surrender the point. I'd read the post you mentioned, and upon re-reading two or three more times, I'll concede that while he didn't use the magic word, and he didn't specify that there would be difficulties per se, it doesn't take *too* much to read between the lines, and that Rumsfeld should not be able to take the out of "noone predicted the insurgency".

I still don't think it's a strong enough charge to use amongst the right-wingers, were you need a smoking gun, not simply a recently fired one.

Going off-topic, (and feel free to ignore this if time and space are unavailable) one of your URLs made a fairly compelling case for the USA getting out of Iraq. If you favor such a course, what do you think is America's moral obligation to Iraq vis-a-vis the likely civil war? Does it have any?

While opposing the initial entrance into the war, I've been part of the "you broke it, you bought it" faction, which means we have a moral duty to help prevent the deterioration as much as possible. If it is turning out that the US is actually incapable of preventing the oncoming catastrophe, then I'm curious as to what you think we owe the Iraqis for having busted their country, such as it was.

Mr. London, what can I say? I'm sorry that I think the points you are making, while accurate, are not appropos to the original topic. Shinseki's numbers were almost certainly closer to the mark, but we'll never know because we didn't even use the troops we had. Your comments on Rumsfeld's attempts to close down debate, while accurate, are also off the mark with respect the original topic. If he succeeded, then he wouldn't have heard anyone predicting the insurgency, and his original claim stands (or the gist of it anyway).

Anyway, further argument is moot. I concede the point. Thank you for bringing Shinseki into the discussion. I certainly learned a little more.

As for the personal atacks,
(1) if they were a product of upset or annoyance because I failed to comprehend your points, my sincere apologies. I don't mean to cause anyone distress. Real life disagreements are rarely hashed out in a single post.
(2) if they were an attempt to bully me into agreement, my sympathies.
(3) if they were an attempt to curry favour with an in-group by attacking the outsider, then I hope you've underestimated the readership of the blog.
(4) if they were wit, then I can only hope the humor succeeded with others...

#86 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 12:32 AM:

If it is turning out that the US is actually incapable of preventing the oncoming catastrophe, then I'm curious as to what you think we owe the Iraqis for having busted their country, such as it was.

Mr West, this is a good question. In my opinion (and not only mine, I'm an ignoramus, go read Juan Cole), not only is the US incapable of preventing catastrophe in Iraq but the presence of US troops is exacerbating the catastrophe that is already underway. We can't stop it. Everything we do makes it worse. Therefore, I think we have to get out, and make it clear to everyone in Iraq, yes we are getting out. No, we won't leave troops behind.

And then we ask the Iraqis: what do we have -- not counting our soldiers, because we won't send them back -- that you can use? I have no idea what the answer to that question will be from the multitude of factions now vying for power in Iraq, but the Iraqis are the only people who can answer it. Maybe the answer will be, Nothing. Get away from us, and oh, by the way, we're going to sell all our oil to China now. Maybe it will be, goodbye, and hello to our new best friend, Iran.

The trouble is, Bushco really really really doesn't want to give up Iraq, because they want bases in Iraq so that they can control the flow of oil. They have always wanted this. And George Bush is probably incapable of agreeing to a pullout now (or ever) because that would mean admitting he made a mistake in judgement, and he can't admit that. So we won't leave, and more Americans and Iraqis will die. Damn them.

#87 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 12:58 AM:

Going off-topic, (and feel free to ignore this if time and space are unavailable) one of your URLs made a fairly compelling case for the USA getting out of Iraq. If you favor such a course, what do you think is America's moral obligation to Iraq vis-a-vis the likely civil war? Does it have any?

First subquestion is: do I think that the US should annex Iraq or treat it as a permanent client state. Answer: no. And I think that's a fairly common (though not universal) opinion. So we're really talking about when we should get out of Iraq, not if.

Second subquestion: What does it mean for Iraq to be in a civil war? What does "civil war" mean, anyway? Based on Rumsfeld's track record, I favor the comment (I forget where I read it) that he won't admit there's a civil war until one of the insurgent leaders is Stonewall Al-Jackson.

I've cited before Juan Cole's Salon article that presents a standard academic definition of civil wars - and by that measure, Iraq is already in one.

Third subquestion: Will the US occupation improve things in Iraq? I haven't seen any evidence of this. The fundamental flaw with the 'stay the course' argument is that you can't keep cutting a board until it's long enough. The problem with "you break it, you bought it" is that Iraqis are not things, passive objects without agency. (By the way, if you break something in Pottery Barn, you don't own it. That's a myth.)

So, I arrive at a different question: given that the US occupation has failed at almost every pre-war goal and has arguably triggered a civil war, how can we morally justify continuing a failed occupation at a cost of $2 billion a week and numerous lives?

#88 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 02:39 AM:

Mr. London, what can I say? I'm sorry that I think the points you are making, while accurate, are not appropos to the original topic. Shinseki's numbers were almost certainly closer to the mark, but we'll never know because we didn't even use the troops we had. Your comments on Rumsfeld's attempts to close down debate, while accurate, are also off the mark with respect the original topic. If he succeeded, then he wouldn't have heard anyone predicting the insurgency, and his original claim stands (or the gist of it anyway).

The original topic, for those keeping score at home, being "there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency"

Simply put, you're an idiot. You'd stand there and tell me that No One predicted that we needed more troops, that Rumsfeld's shutting down the predictions is irrelevant to his claim that no one predicted it, and that those who did predict and were fired by Rumsfeld don't count because, well, they didn't serve you those numbers with a side of fries, and some banana mash.

you are worthless, a biter, a cad, a chimpanzee dressed up in a nice suit. You seem enamored with your ability to make words, like to hear how sophisticated you can sound, but you're a simple idiot in a monkey suit.

Logic does not apply to you when it doesn't bow your tie. You give long and complicated logical arguments that the earth is flat. You defend rumsfeld for saying no one could have predicted this response, ignore his supression of all predictions, and ignore the few predictions made by a couple of generals whose job it was to make thos predictions. And manage to ignore the fact that in the end, Rumsfeld was wrong and Shenseki was right.

Lemme guess, you'd also like to tell me that the evidence about global warming isn't in yet, that it needs further study, and that evolution is just a theory, and like all theories should be taught alongside competing scientific theories like creationism.

Can you be any more dense? No, don't answer that. You're bound to show the envelope for stupidity encompasses a much wider range than I thought already.

Here. have a banana. throw some poo. Bang on a keyboard. In due time, maybe you'll knock out a shakespear manuscript. Who knows. You just might be the lucky monkey to do it.

Until then, you're just banging stupidity over there.

#89 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 07:20 AM:

And then we ask the Iraqis: what do we have -- not counting our soldiers, because we won't send them back -- that you can use?

I'm worried that for the Iraqi on the street the answer might be "security from the upcoming civil war". I'd guess (and it's a complete guess), given people as a whole, that <1% actually want war.

First subquestion is: do I think that the US should annex Iraq or treat it as a permanent client state. Answer: no. And I think that's a fairly common (though not universal) opinion. So we're really talking about when we should get out of Iraq, not if.

Sorry, I'd assumed that was a given.

Second subquestion: What does it mean for Iraq to be in a civil war? What does "civil war" mean, anyway? Based on Rumsfeld's track record, I favor the comment (I forget where I read it) that he won't admit there's a civil war until one of the insurgent leaders is Stonewall Al-Jackson.

We can use whatever term we like for the present conflict and the future one. My concern is we'd be looking at hundreds of thousands to millions of deaths. (Not that we will, but that's my fear.) There seem to be a number of agitators (mostly working "for" the Sunni side) that are trying to push a move towards genocide (of the Sunni side). I'd really hate for the US to end up being facilitators of (attempted) genocide.

Third subquestion: Will the US occupation improve things in Iraq?

I'd say my position (in my case) is one of fear. The current position is *bad*, but the alternate position *could be* catastrophic. And I think we can agree that there's no consensus as to what happens if the US pulls out soon. So, it's not so much cutting the board until it's long enough, as it is holding the wall up. Letting go has a distinct risk that we're looking at a nightmare. And a good possibility that they fix the problem themselves.

But if there *is* a genocidal outcome, what's the US's role? Intervention? Offering a home to the displaced Sunni's?

"you break it, you bought it"

I consider the phrase shorthand for "a moral responsibility to build a peaceful government that was significantly better than the one you just destroyed."

So, back to my original question. If we pull out, what do we owe the Iraqis? If they form a peaceful government, then it's easy. If there's an out-and-out genocidal civil war, what is our moral obligation to the Iraqis? Being unable to answer that question to my own satisfaction, I'm (currently) not comfortable advocating for a total withdrawal.

And unlike Mr. Rumsfeld, I'm unwilling to make big changes until I've got answers that I can accept to all significantly probably outcomes. (And yes, perhaps the answer to the hard one is "they just die..." - but I'm not there yet.)

#90 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 07:47 AM:

Okay, I'm weak. And if you're kind, Mr. London, you'll do me the favor of ignoring this post.

First, given your vitriolic response to monkeys (at least those who have the temerity to disagree with you), you must be interesting company at the zoo. :-)

More seriously, you seem to be equating a disbelief in evolution or a disbelief in (I assume you mean human-caused) global warming with monkey-dom.

Do you believe monkeys should have the right to vote?

Given that the intersection of people who believe in evolution, people who believe in human-caused global warming, and people who believe Rumsfeld should resign (a proxy for a lot of beliefs about Rumsfeld) is less than 50%, the obvious question is...

Do you believe that the people of the USA are fit to elect their own government?

#91 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 10:23 AM:

Mr. West, my point is, whatever we "owe" the Iraqis for having broken their original government and put nothing in its place is something to be negotiated with the Iraqis. They may not want anything else from us, given our track record in their country. We get out, first. Then we say, what do you need? Then we listen. It may be they ask for something impossible for us to give, or maybe they will have better ideas for ways we can do some good than we do -- at this point our ideas seem pretty lame.

I understand you feel we have a moral obligation to them; I agree, we do. But we are perhaps not the best judges of how to fulfill that obligation -- as it stands, our judgments about Iraq have not exactly proved to be good ones up till now. Again, we get out. Yes, once we are gone there's going to be a lot of death. But how is that different from what's happening now?

#92 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 11:14 AM:

Do you believe that the people of the USA are fit to elect their own government?

No, I just think your an ass. And as long as you think Rumsfeld's comment here:

"there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is,?

has even the remotest shred of truth to it, rather than being a complete load of monkey poo, historic revisionism, cover-your-ass, ABC Special, Fox News report that it is, then I'll continue to consider you an ass.

I thought I was rather clear on that.

#93 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 07:07 PM:

Polls show that the average Iraqi on the street wants the US out - even if they believe that a US pullout will lead to a deterioration in security.

I'm curious as to what you think we owe the Iraqis for having busted their country, such as it was.

The most important thing we owe them for breaking their country is to stop breaking it.

Your posts all have the underpinning that the US presence in Iraq is making things better, or at least keeping them from getting worse as quickly. The counterevidence is the past history of the occupation, in which things have continued to get worse at great expense. What is your evidence for the beneficial aspect of the occupation?

Being unable to answer that question to my own satisfaction, I'm (currently) not comfortable advocating for a total withdrawal.

Then you are condemning Iraqis and Americans alike to a known escalation of maiming, torture, and death in order to assuage your conscience about a hypothetical.

#94 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 09:11 PM:

Then you are condemning Iraqis and Americans alike to a known escalation of maiming, torture, and death in order to assuage your conscience about a hypothetical.

Agreed, my current preferred course of action *is* condemning thousands to death. But it's also a *hell* of a hypothetical. We've just condemned Rumsfeld because he chose to ignore the possibility of an insurgency. Are we to ignore the possibility of mass (and I mean *mass*) slaughter?

The fact that I have yet to hear *one* person advocating withdrawal even admit the *possibility* of attempted genocide in our absence is highly disturbing.

I think the hypothetical *must* be addressed before one can morally withdraw, even if addressing it is simply admitting responsibility for the mass slaughter that might occur.

I've debated this in person with one man who claimed that we could not possibly countenance
the possibility of genocide in advance because otherwise we couldn't withdraw. I found the mirror image irony (A Rumsfeld who could not possibly countenance the possibility of an insurgency because it would make an invasion impossible), to be horrifying.

We've already had one administration that refused to take responsibility or acknowledge all the possible outcomes of their actions. I don't think it's a practice that should continue, no matter how hard it is to admit that that the worst case is very bad indeed.

There's got to be at least *one* side that is willing to accept responsibility for their actions, however unasked, unwanted and unfair the initial conditions.

#95 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 09:18 PM:

Are we to ignore the possibility of mass (and I mean *mass*) slaughter?

No. But the problem is, we can't stop it, without putting many, many more troops in there, and they would have to stay for decades, because the minute we withdraw, the killing starts again -- and it's very likely that even under those conditions, we might not be able to stop it. It's already happening: thousands are being killed every month.

I've said this all the ways I know how to stay it.
The Iraqis are going to have to stop it. We can't. And they won't -- unles we get out.

#96 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2006, 09:26 PM:

Yeah, I was afraid if I said even one other thing you'd duck my question. You have yet to make even the slightest effort to try to justify your resolute conviction that US involvement will decrease the chance of mass slaughter. And this after making the board jump through hoops to satisfy you about "insurgency".

I'm done here.

#97 ::: Tom West ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 12:23 AM:

No. But the problem is, we can't stop it, without putting many, many more troops in there, and they would have to stay for decades

Agreed. I don't think the political will exists to double the number of troops and have a mission that lasts for decades. So we're stuck with a staus quo that sucks.

The Iraqis are going to have to stop it.

It's just opinion here, but it sounds an awful lot like police officers saying "there is no way the police can handle the crime in the ghetto. We're leaving and it's up to you to solve the problem." The people who are getting killed aren't the problem, they're the victims. It feels (emphasize *feels*) to me like we're handing the peaceful majority over to the tender mercies of the those who want a civil war and mass slaughter.

You have yet to make even the slightest effort to try to justify your resolute conviction that US involvement will decrease the chance of mass slaughter.

Okay, it's pretty clear I didn't understand your question.

Looking at it now, there are three possible meaning, and I assumed the first.

(1) That the US involvement will decrease the chance of mass slaughter right now.

Um, I'm sort of assuming that 120,000 troops makes it pretty hard to fight an all-out war. Is this not a given? I didn't justify it because I assumed it's pretty obvious that the massive civil war can't really happen at the moment. (And there's a difference between the artial flow we're seeing now and a Rwanda-lite that's the worst case scenario.)

I assumed the first meaning and thought the answer was obvious.

However, given your reaction perhaps you meant

(2) that over a 20 year occupation, more will die than in a year of utter violence.

Now that's a more interesting take, and one I missed in the first reading.

From a moral culpability stand point, it's easier to accept the long term occupation, even at the cost of more deaths because we're essentially devoting significant effort into trying to stop the bloodshed, even if it is misdirected.

(3) that America can't stay forever, and the risk of major havoc when we leave grows the longer we stay.

The obvious answer to that it that it is America's moral obligation is to stay until such time as the risk is minimal, no matter how long that takes.

It's the holding up the wall dilemma, and you're right, there's every possibility that the wall won't fall if we leave now, the wall is falling apart brick by brick and there won't *be* any wall in 20 years, and that the wall gets less stable the longer we're holding it up.

And yet, I find that I am trapped in this course, hoping for a miracle that will never come because I cannot accept that there is nothing we can do. That the best we can do is look on and hope that those who are pushing for slaughter do not prevail. That all we can do is pray, and if hundreds of thousands are slaughtered, shake our heads sadly and say "we tried".

I suspect it's the same impulse that can't accept that Rwanda and Darfur were done deals that could not be prevented. Even as we fail, and the costs, moral and economic pile up, I cannot accept that America is powerless to prevent such tragedy.

It's not resolute intent, it's desperation.

#98 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 05:04 AM:

From Lizzy L @85: "George Bush is probably incapable of agreeing to a pullout now (or ever)" — Unfortunately, it very much seems that you could substitute 'John [W] Howard*' for 'George [W] Bush'. And the whole situation will be almost as sticky for his successor (of either party) to deal with. Once you grab the Tar Baby, whatever happens is going to be messy. Blood & Oil, not a nice mixture.

*Prime Minister of Australia since 1996

#99 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 12:55 PM:

Mr. West, what you seem to be refusing to acknowledge is that mass slaughter is taking place *right now* and is only getting worse.

Putting more US troops into the middle of a civil war is not going to change anything. What part of "the Iraqis want the US troops to leave" don't you understand? All increasing deployments will do is get more of our people killed without helping the Iraquis one whit.

All the current Misadministration is achieving is the creation of MORE terrorists and the loss of more US personnel and material. Hell, they couldn't even equip our people properly for the expedition and the stuff they did send is just about worn out!

Doesn't the fact that private citizens are banding together to buy additional helmets and armor for our troops bother you? These are things that should have been part of Defense's budget from the get-go.

#100 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 01:49 PM:

"there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is"

Ya know, Bush Senior thought about going into Bagdad. His generals told him what was likely to happen: a quagmire of an occupation with no exit strategy, factional fighting, insurgency against us, and finally, civil war that explodes beyond our capacity to contain it and keep the country together.

I think Bush Senior actually wrote about this in a book somewhere, explaining why when we kicked Iraq out of Kuwait way back when, that he didn't go into Iraq and "finish the job".

Anyone who says there was no way to know there would be an insurgency and civil war is a

moron, an
administration parrot, a
Bush echo machine, and a
furry primate throwing poo.

What I would really like to see is a YouTube clip that shows Rumsfeld saying "there was no way we could have known", followed by Shinseki's congressional testimony, the Army secretary's comments, then, Bush Senior's explanation as to why we didn't go into Bagdad. And then finally, a picture showing Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand as friend and ally back in 1983, just to show how much selective memory and historic revisionism is really going on here.

Put it on infinite loop, and send to all your friends.

#101 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 02:22 PM:

What we have here is a bunch of Republicans who dropped an egg, turning to the Democrats and saying, "Yeah, well what's your plan for putting it back together?"

"Staying the course," not staying the course, I don't see an end to this path that is anything other than the Islamic Republic of Iraq, which hates the US and Israel, which funds terrorism, which is in every way worse than the status quo antes.

The only difference is in how many US lives and how much US treasure is spent.

It's obvious that declaring victory and getting out now saves both compared to waiting ten or twenty years before declaring victory and getting out.

#102 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 02:45 PM:

I've talked with folks in the military who've talked with folks who've been stationed in Iraq and there is a growing set of people in the military who believe that our presence in Iraq is making things worse, that we have the cloud of tens of thousands of civilians killed by US troops, of rampant torture at Abu Graib, of a lack of concern for anything other than oil and power, and that this is not about Iraqi freedom but American Empire. We have in the eyes of more and more Iraqi's become nothing more than the evil invader.

The problem is, of course, that to withdraw is political defeat for those whose campaign is based on Might is Right, on military force, and that this really is, to some, about oil, American Empire, and control in the middle east, and not about what is best for the people of Iraq.

So, whether or not pulling out would be the best thing for the Iraqi people and for the US, even trying to analyze this and discuss it public discourse is going to run into folks who want oil and American Empire who will camoflage their arguments with arguments unrelated to their true intentions. "Cut and Run" being the mantra of status quo and don't question the emporer's new clothes. So that needs to be kept in mind even when considering discussing the options available.

Unfortunately, we've burned just about every bridge we could in the last 6 years or so. Even if it became obvious to the vast majority of Americans that the best and right thing to do would be to withdraw, we no longer have any allies willing to go in our stead as a peacekeeping force. Requesting a UN peacekeeping force would probably result in a huge round of laughter in UN headquarters.

What I would like to hear, actually, is the experts on the this sort of thing. I'd like to go to Shinseki and ask him if maintaining a single Iraq is something he even thinks possible now with the troops we have available. There were a lot of high level people in the military who predicted this mess, who said we needed more troops, and I'd like a sampling of their opinions on our current options.

#103 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:37 AM:

A fundamental problem we're having is that Our Beloved Leader can't distinguish getting rid of the bad from establishing something good.

In Afghanistan, we kicked out the Taliban, but re-empowered the warlords and thugs who made the Taliban look like a good idea in the first place.

In Iraq, we got rid of Saddam Hussain, who was certainly bloodthirsty and evil, but let loose an ongoing wave of chaos that has made many Iraqis even less secure.

During WWII, a lot of Eastern Europeans discovered that replacing Hitler with Stalin, or vice versa, doesn't do much to improve the situation. Replacing a dictator who murders thousands a year with anarchy that kills thousands a year is as meaningless a choice.

We need to win the war on terror. But how will we know when we've won?

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