Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Can You Hear My Head Banging on My Desk?

Just saw one more of the Bush admin "support the war" commercials. An earnest disabled Marine saying that if he could go back to fight in Iraq he would. And that we have to keep fighting in Iraq because if we leave the country WILL BECOME a haven for terrorists. WILL BECOME? How long has this poor man been home that he hasn't noticed Iraq ALREADY IS a haven for terrorists. Oh yes, and he also gets angry every time he hears the Democrats in Congress say we've lost the war. So, you'd rather hear it from who? The lips of George "I can't admit mistakes" Bush? Or from Darth Cheney, who didn't even listen to his own advice about getting bogged down in Iraq? Or is he waiting to hear it from the generals and officers more concerned with their own careers than with disagreeing with the administration by telling the truth? Are pigs flying yet?

If you haven't had a chance yet, check out the August 26, 2007 issue of NYTimes magazine - where Fred Kaplan looks at the Grand Canyon-sized gulf between experiences of generals and upper brass, and that of junior officers in the trenches. Kaplan references Lt. Col. Paul Yingling and his now famous article, "A Failure in Generalship," and the resulting change in military outlook and procedures based on the dire needs Yingling cataloged in his article.

No, you're right, I was just kidding on that last part. Of course NOTHING has been done as a result of Yingling's revelations in that May issue of Armed Forces Journal that one of the reasons for the continuing Iraqi fiasco is that the Army's generals lacked "professional character, creative intelligence, and moral courage." In Kaplan's piece, you'll learn about a gathering of young officers who were asked what they thought about Yingling's charges. Their response?

"One asked why the top generals failed to give political leaders full and frank advice on how many troops would be needed in Iraq. One asked whether any generals 'should be held accountable' for the war’s failures. One asked if the Army should change the way it selected generals. Another said that general officers were so far removed from the fighting, they wound up 'sheltered from the truth' and 'don’t know what’s going on.'”

And you wondered why the only generals who were actively arguing against the Iraq quagmire were retired. There seem to be a high number of morally and ethically questionable gentlemen in this physically brave group of top brass. Yingling also writes a blog on the Small Wars Journal that is a most interesting read.

Douglas MacGregor, who has argued with Yingling about naming names - does so in his piece, "Fire the Generals" in which he notes: "When Gen. George Casey took over as commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq during July 2004, he asked his staff in Baghdad to set up a meeting with the headquarters’ counter-insurgency expert. His request was met with silence. Incredible as it may seem, after fighting what American military authorities had been calling an insurgency for over a year, the Army’s headquarters in Baghdad had no experts on counter-insurgency operations." A surprise perhaps to Casey & MacGregor - business as usual under Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld to the rest of us.

Of special interest to me in MacGregor's piece was the chapter, "How to Create an Insurgency in 30 Days." In which he looks at bad decision after bad decision. Any one of which would have seemed to be obvious to a blind man, but not to folks like Paul "medal boy" Bremer and the rest of the neo-con crew.

I'm signing off now, all that head banging on table top has given me a terrific headache. And I've got 503 days to go.

5 Comments:

Blogger TomCat said...

The quality military leaders went under the bus for disagreeing with Crawford Caligula. What's left is the ones whose career advancement is more important to them than their integrity.

2:11 PM  
Blogger moville said...

yes, i CAN hear your head banging, and yes, it's an awful ad. in fairness, both sides have now used injured and maimed vets to put forth their point of view. But this one is particularly terrible because it implies we have to stay there indefinitely so that the sacrifices made will not be in vain, and staying there indefinitely is only going to get more people killed without any good result. we have to find a way to end this occupation.

8:26 PM  
Blogger LaPopessa said...

Just saw another one of those ads tonight. The woman arguing that we can't give in to those who want to "surrender" to the terrorists. This is going to be an interesting test of American's common sense vs. their ability to fall for a sharp political ad.

10:12 PM  
Blogger moville said...

well, it's an interesting morning for the "terrorist threat"...the President has told us we have to fight "the terrorists" in Iraq so that they can't "follow us here." But look what the headlines say this morning: "Plot broken up in Denmark!" "Plot thwarted outside Frankfurt, Germany!" Are we going to fight them in major European cities, too?

This rhetoric about Iraq is somewhere beyond absurd.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Katy said...

I hate those commericals almost as much as I hate the army ones. Every time I hear someone on the tv tell me that I've made my kids strong and they'll make them army strong, I shout back, NO, YOU'LL KILL THEM!

4:22 PM  

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