Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Crushing Rumsfeld, and making it up.

In his speech tonight, President Bush is apparently going to admit to making a mistake in conducting the Iraq war, by not sending in enough troops early in the occupation.

This is the final repudiation of the Rumsfeld doctrine. Actually this appears to be the President not only repudiating Rumsfeld, but blaming him for the state of affairs in Iraq at this point.

Of course the President will not directly say the former Secretary of Defense was actually the root cause of the failure. But anyone who knows the history can see the meaning of the coming admission of past mistakes plainly.

This must be a bitter pill to swallow for Rumsfeld, who carried the water for Bush and the neocons for a long time. When President Bush spent years pointing to the Generals on the ground in Iraq as being the deciders of troop levels, he was pointing to the men Rumsfeld put there. These same generals are now being moved from the scene of the carnage in a further rebuttal to Rumsfeld. If Rumsfeld were dead he would be rapidly rotating in his grave...

What this escalation means, following fast on the heels of the Rumsfeld resignation, is that all the past rhetoric praising Rumsfeld and expressing confidence in the generals... basically the entire foundation of the Presidents military strategy in Iraq, has been wrong. This of course is on top of all the wrong reasons (WMD, Saddam in bed with Osama etc...) that led us to invade Iraq in the first place. The basic strategic error in opening a new front in the war on terror, (admittedly a flawed term, but one I use based upon common usage) when we had no need to do so, inflaming the opinion of those we need to sway to our side in the war and losing broad based international support for our cause is, for many who have considered the consequences of the decision, the greatest strategic blunder in American military history. (Good lord I HATE sentences like that... I'll try to do better.)

My point is, the administration started the war based upon a mistake, and conducted what the President will now admit is a mistaken policy in occupation, and now wants us to trust him to get it right. How freaking STUPID does he think we are?

Not only were the basics of the entire affair based upon mistaken policy, but it is clear that the administration used Iraq as a melting pot of untried idealistic proposition. Rumsfelds occupation scheme is actually a perfect example of this. The Rumsfeld doctrine called for less manpower, and more technology to dominate the battlefield. This doctrine was a stunning success in both the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, but is proving a horrible failure in the occupation of those nations. The basic lesson here is that predator drones and computerized tank turrets are great at taking out the army of the other guy, but not very good at winning the hearts and minds of the population we have just taken governance of. Unfortunately for us, Rumsfeld decided to test his theory in real life in Iraq, forsaking the previously held Powell doctrine calling for overwhelming force. Testing this theory has lead us to quagmire, and to the Presidents late conversion to the (proven through out history) Powell doctrine, as far as he is able to execute that doctrine at this point.

Another example of the administration using untested idealistic proposition as policy leading to disaster was the decision to have the occupation authority in Iraq immediately after the invasion be populated with people chosen based upon their political beliefs, rather than the scope of expertise they brought to the issue they were handling. Thus you have young Republican hill staffers and fresh out of college young Republican potentates being sent to Iraq to set up their stock exchange, and power grid. You have Iraqi law codifying a flat tax, and the de-Baathification of the Iraqi infrastructure.

The notion was to make Iraq a proving ground for neoconservative ideals in government. The result has been a rolling trainwreck of human misery. Iraq was to be held as a model of neoconservative governance, until the disastrous consequences of those policies took hold at which point blame devolved upon Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, Saddamists, militias, Democrats, bloggers, the French, The U.N., ... well, anyone or group who wasn't a neoconservative and had an opinion on Iraq actually.

Indeed the overarching notion of democracy flowering in the middle east based upon force of American arms being deployed to install a democracy in Iraq is a basic construct of neoconservatism. We were to be greeted as liberators, showered with flowers, amidst the neoconservative ideal in the land of milk and honey, or oil and money rather. What a tragic, deadly mistake this administration made in pursuing that idealistic fantasy.

What is my point in all this you may wonder? That the administration has simply been making this stuff up as it goes along, has lead us into endless quagmire because of this, and now wants to continue to make it up. It is time for realism to take hold of our Iraq policy.

The President will be admitting an error by not putting enough troops on the ground. In order for us to know the President now comprehends the reality of the issues at hand he must also admit error in starting the war to begin with, in setting up the Bremer Iraq administration, in de-Baathification and disbanding the Iraqi military, in not stopping the lawlessness and looting immediately following the invasion,... I'm sure you get the point. In order to show he has a true grasp on reality, the President must forsake the reality his administration tried to create in Iraq.

By throwing Rumsfeld under the bus the President has started down that road. I might be wrong about this prediction, but I don't expect him to proceed any further with the admissions of error.

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