Donald Rumsfeld: Survivor

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Riddle me Donald Rumsfeld. He stands at the podium, gray-suited and grease-combed, archaic as a slide rule; he’s ancient but doesn’t look old. He looks, in fact, like Dad, a mid-century version of the guy who disappears with a starched collar every morning to do unfathomable things at the office. When you ask at day’s end what he’s been doing he smiles, uncreased and thinly patient, and explains that you can’t possibly understand what he does. It’s proper and cute that you ask him, but you’re better off letting him handle it, and there is no greater family sin than needless worry.

And he’s tired. He’s been standing all day.

Rumsfeld, Ford and Cheney

Rumsfeld. Ford. Cheney. One of these guys is replaceable. [Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum]

The act would prove comforting if things were going well in Iraq, but they don’t seem to be, and a lot of what’s broken in the last five years — the way we detain and handle prisoners, the way we deploy and equip our military, the way we occupy a country after beating it — is something that Donald Rumsfeld tried to fix. He was young once, a whiz kid not quite a generation behind Robert Mcnamara, a wrestler from Princeton with an twenty-something’s itch to anger bureaucracy. Then he ran for Congress, won, internalized that itch, scratched it and and is now still scratching a half-century later. It sustains him, this itch. With it he has outlasted Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and he doesn’t look likely to leave Washington before George Bush.

In his eternal war with and within bureaucracies Donald Rumsfeld is a tactical genius, but is his private, metaphorical war with the Pentagon good for America’s public and very literal war in Iraq? “I’m a survivor,” he told the troops last year, speaking, of course, of his unparalleled ability to hold on to appointed office. It’s an odd thing to say to an audience for whom survival means actually not getting killed.

How does he do it? How has he been doing it for so long? What does it take to lick every bureaucrat, politician and Joint Chief reckless enough to take him on?

Michael Gordon

Chief Military Correspondent, The New York Times

Co-Author, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

Midge Decter

Author, Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait

Midge Decter

Author, Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait

Jim Behrle

Poet and blogger, Behrle

James Mann

Author, The Rise of the Vulcans

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  • cheesechowmain

    “It sustains him, this itch. With it he has outlasted Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and he doesn’t look likely to leave Washington before George Bush does.”

    But will he outlast Fidel Castro?

  • serious lee

    You’re doin’ a great job Rummy.

  • serious lee

    p.s. He can lick me any old day.

  • With Thomas Friedman locked away behind that “firewall of failure” at the NTY’s I can’t link to any of his recent commentary but I did here him speak on another NPR show a few weeks ago and heard him describe Rumsfeld’s Strategy as “just enough to lose”. A very good phrase that could sum it up, if that is the fianl outcome and it is good short description.

    Kristol (the Grand poo-bah of Neocons) might agree.

    Kristol: “We Have Not Had A Serious Three-Year Effort To Fight A War In Iraq�

    My asessment is that Rumsfeld is the the US military of this century like Jack Wlech was to GE of the 1980’s. Both leaders simultaneously fought and won the wars of thier times while transforming thier respective institutions into organizations ready to fight and win the next wars. Neither were universally loved by members of the organizations that they led but both are historic.

  • And, eventhough some few Generals might not like him, it would seem that many troops are voting with their feet and lives, to say that they likw what he is doing.

    Why U.S. Troops Re-Enlist in Record Numbers

    April 14, 2006: In the last six months, the U.S. Army is seeing 15 percent more soldiers re-enlist than expected. This continues a trend that began in 2001. Every year since then, the rate at which existing soldiers have re-enlisted has increased. This despite the fact that 69 percent of the troops killed in Iraq have been from the army. New recruits continue to exceed join up at higher rates as well.

  • The results of Rumsfeld’s transformation.

    America’s New Combat Brigades March On

    April 17, 2006: The reorganization of the U.S. Army is, as expected, changing direction even as it takes place. This is largely due to the feedback from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new organization is based more on combat brigades, than combat divisions. The divisions remain, but with more of the men and gear going into four combat brigades, instead of three brigades previously. That means 77 new brigades are being formed. Only a year ago, the plan was for 35 of those brigades to be “heavy” (equipped with M1 tanks and M2 infantry vehicles.) Now there will only be 31 heavy brigades. In addition, there will be four sets of heavy brigade equipment, stored overseas as “prepositioned” gear in places like Kuwait and Korea.

  • But Secretary Rumsfeld doesn’t lack for enthusiastic defenders in the ranks: “My assessment from extensive and continuous contact with young field grade officers…is that Secretary Rumsfeld is considered the finest Secretary of Defense in the last 40 years,” said an Army lieutenant colonel in an email to the Web log “Real Clear Politics.”

    However, I can tell you that beyond the Beltway in dusty and dirty places like Ft. Benning, Ft. Stewart, Ft. Hood, Ft. Campbell and Ft. Bragg, where officers wear BDUs instead of Class Bs that there are tens of thousands of Officers, Commissioned/Warrant/Non-Commissioned, that would go to hell and back for this Secretary.

    Record re-enlistment rates do not suggest widespread dissatisfaction among the rank and file with the secretary of defense.

    Virtually all the complaining generals oppose Secretary Rumsfeld’s plans for military reform, and are angered and offended by his management style. (The secretary is often brusque with subordinates he thinks reason or perform poorly.) The generals speaking out may have reasons other than patriotism for doing so. Gen. Zinni is flogging a book.

    MajGen. John Riggs was busted a grade and forced to retire because of a procurement scandal. MajGen. Eaton oversaw the rebuilding of the Iraqi army in 2003-2004, when everyone now agrees this was a disaster.

    “When Swannack, for example, blames Rumsfeld for Abu Ghraib, he gives up the game,” wrote retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, now a professor at Boston University, in the Los Angeles Times. “By pointing fingers at Rumsfeld, the generals hope to deflect attention from the military’s own egregious mistakes.”

    Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, whose book “Breaking the Phalanx” is a rough blueprint for the organizational reforms the Army is making now, agrees military leaders deserve at least as much blame for mistakes in Iraq as do the Pentagon’s civilian leaders.

    Many generals, especially in the Army, are overly bureaucratic and risk averse, Col. Macgregor said. Excessive caution nearly denied the U.S. a quick victory in the march on Baghdad, and excessive use of force after the fall of Saddam by, among others, MajGen. Swannack, fueled the insurgency, he said.

  • A Different Set of Generals

    Despite criticisms, Mr. Rumsfeld is arguably one of the most effective secretaries of defense our nation has ever had. Under his watch, the U.S. military has been transforming; it brilliantly deposed Mullah Omar’s barbaric Taliban regime (Osama bin Laden’s sanctuary) and Saddam Hussein’s ruthless Baathist regime, freeing 50 million people from oppression and placing the countries on democratic paths. With these actions, terrorists have been denied secure home bases. These are a few key factors why terrorists have been unable to attack the American homeland again. The policy and forward strategy implemented by Secretary Rumsfeld has taken the fight to the enemy as did the nation in World War II and the Cold War.


    Lt. Gen. Crosby (ret.) is former deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Lt. Gen. McInerney (ret.) is former assistant vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force. Maj. Gen. Moore (ret.), U.S. Air Force, was director of Central Command during Operation Desert Storm. Maj. Gen. Vallely (ret.) is former deputy commander of the U.S. Army, Pacific.

  • My last post, I promise. Bewteen my real job and new role as a “ghost blogger” on a major right wing blog, I don’t have much time anymore to participate but I do have an idea that might help me as well as many others. (with my RSS reader mentioned below it was easy to come up with the materials and links to them above).

    Is it possible for ROS to set up an RSS feed that announces upcoming shows like this one so that, instead of having to goto the site to look for shows it would show up in our RSS feeds? In my role as a ghost blogger I have to be good at managing time and I use RSS readers to keep up with events and this would help much.

    It would also keep ROS website at the “bleeding edge” of the use communication technology . For example -“I think we are going to see calendars as a place to aggregate a lot more data in the future,” says Kan. “For example, I put an RSS feed from into my Kiko calendar. It displays events in Cambridge, directly in my calendar. I found an event that I think I am going to tonight — it’s not something I had looked for, and would never have known about otherwise.”,308,p2.html

  • chowderhead

    As is usual with the members of the Project for the New American Century cabal, more lurks beneath the surface. has uncovered documents which show that Rumsfeld gave a green light to interrogators (read: torturers) of a Saudi Arabian detainee of Guantanamo prison to do whatever was necessary to extract information from him. While Rumsfeld did not order specific abuse, he was nevertheless aware of the kind of abuse taking place at Guantanamo, and gave no instructions that such treatment should be avoided. Rumsfeld received regular updates about this prisoner (Mohamed al-Qahtani) over a period of several weeks, and was particularly interested in what was gained during his questioning. Qahtani has since recanted information given regarding thirty other prisoners, saying the information had been obtained under torture.

    Secretary Rumsfeld is not a chilly, more or less benign father figure who made a few miscalculations and is, like his fellow cabinet members, too slick to pin down, giving back criticism as good as he gets. He is a very bad individual who just might be indictable for war crimes and human rights violations — another candidate for being “frogmarched out of office in handcuffs”. Perhaps next week will bring another half-dozen discontented generals, and then another, and another, who will tell tale on Secretary Rumsfeld. Maybe then we can finally get him out of office for good.

  • I can just imagine those nice father son chats.

    Dad, the reason I borrowed the car was to get some milk at the 7/11.

    “Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up.”

    Dad, the head of the department said I am doing a great job and might get a promotion.

    “If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.”

    Dad, I just washed the windows, sweeped the drive-way and set the table.

    “If you try to please everybody, somebody’s not going to like it.”

    Dad, one of my friends said we’ve already spent 6 times more on the Iraq war than you predicted.

    You know me, “I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concepty.”

    Right. By the way, here’s the $10 I borrowed.

    Hey! That’s $11.49 with interest.

    Dad, I already asked mom and uncle Saddam what they thought about my joining the staff of the Baghdad Correctional Facility and I thought I should get your opinion.

    “The worst thing you can do is allow a coalition to determine what your mission is.”

    Dad, it is so sad that uncle Bob passed away.

    “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.”

    Dad, don’t get mad. Didn’t you read the teacher’s report?

    “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

    Dad, what are you trying to tell me?

    “Learn to say ‘I don’t know.’ If used when appropriate, it will be often.”

    Is that how you have avoided getting into trouble?

    “he he he”

  • nother

    Winston Dodson, you and I were both in the military. You and I both know that no one in the enlisted ranks thinks about the Secretary of Defense when considering reenlistment. They think about their family needing a consistent paycheck, and they think about loyalty to their fellow soldiers/shipmates.

    You cite statements by generals that more than approve of Mr. Rumsfeld. Winston, I believe you are being disingenuous if you are attempting to convince us that positive statements from certain generals negates the criticism from the other generals. I’m sure you realize that the real news here is that ANY general has broken ranks.

    I’m assume McNamara had many generals supporting him as well, right till the end – till today even.

    I ask you Winston Dodson, not as “ghost blogger on a major right wing blog�, but as a fellow veteran; what would Mr. Rumsfeld have to do or not do, for you to wish for him to step down? Indulge me in a hypothetical, if you would.

  • gcaw

    I recall that Norman Mailer said (in interview with Chris Lydon and in the NYRB) that Rumsfeld was the only one of the Bush cabinet he respects. His reason: that Rumsfeld basically says what he thinks and does not, any more than the job absolutely requires him to, speak to us with the voice of a man whose default mode is dishonesty.

    Like Mailer, I have little good to say about this administration. But I think his exception for Rumsfeld is a fair and accurate one. I do not get the sense that he is a man constantly trying to part us from truths that we serfs don’t even deserve to know. He speaks his mind when he can, and I daresay that explains his longevity and energy in the job.

  • Potter

    Yes gcaw, waht I dislike about Rumsfeld is his rocking back and forth impenetrable combed-back slick surface arrogance. When he first arrived, prior to 9/11, I had some confidence in him If I could feel that he knows what he is doing. I could put up with the surface.

    We are not going to separate Rumsfeld from Cheney from Bush. The person who we should be focussing on firing is GW Bush, the Commander in Chief.

    This is a mildly interesting diversion that seems to be taking up news space but is not going anywhere.

  • Potter, that last thought of yours was exactly what went through my mind when I saw this topic. Why don’t we celebrate all the great people in the world that are out there working for the betterment of those who hunger, lack shelter, seek safetly from violence, etc. Instead, the show seems to want to probe into the mind and operations of a slick and nasty technocrat. If anything, the show should look at what “tactical genius” citizens can use against such powerful men to bring down an administation that operates beyond the law.

    Or is this a remake of Daddy Knows Best:

    In this episode, Donny has a spat with Joyce and decides to take it out on the nation by leading them into a war they cannot win and that will tax generations to come. But in a surpose move, six of Donny’s war buddies turn against him. Don’t change that dial. We’ll be right back after these brief messages from our sponsors, Bechtel, Gulfstream Aerospace, and the RAND Corporation.

  • KenLac

    How does he do it? How has he been doing it for so long? What does it take to lick every bureaucrat, politician and Joint Chief reckless enough to take him on?

    Uhh.. pathalogical shamelessness? A complete and utter lack of compunction?

    Pardon any implied snarkiness — I’m serious here.

  • loki

    As GM goes-so goes the nation! Rummie has done more damage to the Pentagon than Osama!

  • Nother – Reenlistment rate 1) I was in while slick Willy was Pres and he was, most definitely, a negative on both enlistments as well as reenlistments. I had Marines that served under me that chose to leave because they were ashamed to be in service with such a Commander in Chief. But, they also got out because of the good economy at the time. Well, the unemployment rate now is as low, or lower, as it was at that time. So, it looks like there is something going on now because as all data show, both the recruuting and reenlsitment rates are at an all time high.

    Then, there is nothing new about “General breaking ranks”. I will find you the corobrating data but there were dozens if not hundreds of Generals who were opposed the very air that slick Willy breathed much less oppossed to his being Pres. So what does it prove? That a few General breaking ranks doesn’t matter. Nother, I’ve got a work for you, it’s called “anecdotal”. And that is what the few Generals out of many, who are asking for Rumsfeld’s retirement are – anecdotal.

    Ok, my hypothetical what would cause me to wish that Rumsfeld would step down. He would bow to the pressure of “populsits” and greatly increase the number of troops deployed to Iraq. That MIGHT increase security there, and incidently save a few lives of troops there, but it would ASSUREDLY put more pressure to increase the number of active duty troops that even the US Army is resisting. That would add numbers that we will not need in the future, increase defense costs even more in a area that is not needeed and move money / investement away from what is needed. That will slow or stall the transformation that is going on within the military and that would, in the long run, both cost more US military people their lives in the future and jeopardize the long term security of the US. – I would wan’t him to resign if he did that.

    The trade-off is I beleive that the short term increase in the risk to US personnel in Iraq in order to re-engineer the old / slow / outdated US military (as typified by the carping Generals who are asking for Rumsfeld’s resignation) is worht the long term gain for the US military and the US as a whole. And that is spoken as someone who still many close freinds still in who are bearing the brunt of this change. And I can say honestly that I know of NO one who says any different.

    If I had stayed in I would be at 19 years in. So my peer group that I regularly stay in touch with consists of about 14 people in ranks from Major to Col and they of course have their networks as well.

    I have never heard any complaints that are mentioned in many MSM circles – like the lack of Body Armor. That is simply a stupid canard. I have never heard the subject of Rumsfeld’s resignation brought up. In fact, I just sent off a flurry of emails to all of them with links to articles discussing this I have about 50% response and all of them are bascially saying that they think the generals who are asking for his resignation are themselves, out of touch with what the average officer / troops want. Most of the responses are (paraphrasing) “If the active duty General who were there at the planning meetings didn’t like the plan, why didn’t they have the gonads to speak up there and if they weren’t listened to then resign on the spot – that is what and officer is supposed to do”.

    I do hear complaints that we are wearing out equipment and facilities and that training not directly realated to combat is being neglected. For example, as you know many officers in the past were noted for thier grduate educations. Well now, everyone is so excited about getting to Iraq no one is going so they say that there will be a dirth of graduate degrees in future officer Corps. But I guess that I’d rather have officers with combat experience rather than those like me who had a Masters Degree and a WHOPPING 3 weeks (all in GW I) of combat experience.

    And I love your bringing up Vietnam because it really takes a bizzare streatch of reality to compare the 2 situations. The US military is coming thru this better and stronger, excpept for the equipment issues that I raised above. And, that will be a HUGE expense at the backend of this war. Everything will be worn out.

    So, bottom line – I personally beleive that Rumsfeld in now and will be considered by history, one of the greatest military thinkers of all time.

    That is boggest reason why Rumsfeld will not retire until after this fall. Among other things, the selection cycle for Generals is heppening now and they go to Congress for approval in the fall and everybody wants Rumsfeld around for as many of those cycles as they can so he can get rid of “old thinking” leaders.

  • And, it seems that Rumsfeld has out lasted the number one AQ terrorist in Iraq.

    Zarqawi ‘not leading Iraq unrest’

    Huthaifa Azzam, whose father was a mentor of Osama Bin Laden, said Zarqawi was replaced by an Iraqi two weeks ago.

    Mr Azzam claimed some were unhappy about Zarqawi’s tactics and tendency to speak for the insurgency as a whole.


    The new political leader of the coalition of insurgent groups – of which Zarqawi is part – is Abdullah al-Baghdadi, Mr Azzam said.

    He said that the move was in part prompted by embarrassment at Zarqawi’s attacks on other countries, such as last year’s hotel bombings in Jordan, and his use of brutal tactics, such as videotaped beheadings.

  • serious lee

    Hmmm. Welcome back Winston. I missed you. While you were away there was an imposter here trying to replace you. I noticed he’s disappeared. Thank Goodness. I’m always reassured by your precise and thoughtful analysis of things. I wish you were involved with the running of this country. We could use more people like you.

  • This is, I promise once again, that this is may last post because i am leaving for a business trip now but I will listen to podcast.

    I personally worked in Zinni’s staff when I was in the Marine Corps and think that he was a great leader. I just wish that he was more consistent or simply explain why he changed his mind.

    “Former Clinton CENTCOM commander, Anthony Zinni — the most prominent of the retired generals attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — now says that, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, “What bothered me … [was that] I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn’t fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD.”

    But in early 2000, Zinni told Congress “Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region,” adding, “Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions … Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months.”,2933,192065,00.html

  • serious lee, I will have to catch up with the story about who is impersinating me when I return next week. But thanks for the complement, I hope/ think?

  • Ken: “pathalogical shamelessness”

    That’s not snarky… that is policy with this administration.

  • cheesechowmain

    “I recall that Norman Mailer said (in interview with Chris Lydon and in the NYRB) that Rumsfeld was the only one of the Bush cabinet he respects. His reason: that Rumsfeld basically says what he thinks and does not, any more than the job absolutely requires him to, speak to us with the voice of a man whose default mode is dishonesty.”

    Does respect require so little? A scoundrel among scoundrels who suffers less from fits of mendacity? If what is reported about Mr. Mailer is accurate, then my tastes diverge with Mr. Mailer. Respect, in this case, must be based upon more than honesty. We’re talking about a public servant. And BTW, a simple reminder for setting the bar to the level of mediocrity: doing what you’re supposed to be doing in life doesn’t get you a gold star. Honesty is the expected code of conduct for public servants and should not be celebrated in the wake of its overwhelming absence in our political system, or anywhere else for that matter. Our expectations have been turned upside down. You don’t deserve praise for not breaking laws. You don’t deserve praise for speaking truth. It’s expected, required, and a necessity for strategic and tactical purposes. Ethics are not bonus points. Without them, the center will definitely not hold. Policy cannot be implemented. The system will fail.

    So what about tactical deceptions? Then the area does become slightly grey. That is, if you’re putting out misinformation to confuse an adversary, then this is a tactical asset. But, to describe the behavior and rhetoric here as tactical misinformation, is to inflate it to a point of generosity that would make a Las Vegas pimp blush.

    I’m not a huge fan of sports analogies, but in sports you fire the manager / coach, because you generally cannot fire the whole team. The Iraq conflict is far from over, and in spite of my beefs with this administration, I would welcome a positive outcome for the people who live there on what I personally feel is a completely misguided tactical U.S. blunder. I felt this way in 2002 when the doctrine of pre-emption was unfurled, and I feel this way now. Unfortunately, many of the U.S. tactical options have been narrowed or neutralized by both the insurgency and self-imposed resource constraints. Moreover, once it’s decided we’re not in a total war scenario, the tactical options are narrowed and public willingness will be extremely curtailed regarding policy. We’ve already had one-too-many Sherman-esque maneuvers in Fallujah in this campaign. How much more hatred is necessary for the U.S. to win this campaign? Perhaps, the U.S. needs to foment more hatred to acheive a successful outcome. Is this the metric for success?

    The mission, as I understand it, is to neutralize the WMD threat first and foremost. Done. In fact, mission accomplished by the previous leadership of President Bush, Sr. and President Clinton. Total war doesn’t enter into the calculus. As Andy Card would say, the sales and marketing job was done post-labor day 2002 and it was done effectively. So why don’t we leave? Obviously, there are other factors and the situation is fluid. A problem with a policy based upon military violence is that it leads predictably to unpredictable results and uncontrollable situations that tend to degenerate. It invites those naughty unexpected consequences. Especially in the glare of planning failures. Counter insurgency success is a 50-50 proposition. The house takes all ties. A professional gambler (aka a casino) wouldn’t take this bet.

    So, back to the sporting analogy: ultimately, the responsibility is with the leadership. Secretary Rumsfeld is at the top of the food chain regarding our military. He’s not alone. The commander-in-chief is the ultimate leader. Firing Secretary Rumsfeld will be seen as an admission of failure with U.S. policy, which will point directly to the leadership in the U.S. executive branch. President Bush has more leeway with any other member of his team in terms of career options. This policy in Iraq has been joined-at-the-hip with Secretary Rumsfeld for reasons I cannot fathom.

  • nother

    “If the active duty Generals who were there at the planning meetings didn’t like the plan, why didn’t they have the gonads to speak up.�

    Winston, the Army Chief of staff General Shinseki had the “gonads� to speak up. But maybe that example is too “anecdotal� for you.

    “The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark,” – Donald Rumsfeld.

    Winston, you write that the “US military is coming thru this better and stronger.� What if we have to go to war with Iran or North Korea, you’re telling me we are in a better position to do that now.

    In terms of my Vietnam comparison, I was referring to the military/civilian dynamic in the Pentagon. “McNamara was wildly unpopular among flag and general officers, who in later years wrote memoirs critical of him,” said William O’Neill, professor of history at Rutgers University. “But my recollection is that retired officers held their tongues so long as he was in office, and for a time afterward. Part of this resulted from the tradition of accepting civilian control of the military, and part was because the peace movement wanted McNamara’s head, and retired officers did not wish to seem to be abetting the cause.” Some critics have urged active-duty officers to join them in calling for Rumsfeld’s head. Such calls could have a profound impact, but they could also violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which bars officers from using “contemptuous words” against civilian leadership, including the secretary of defense.

    The Times had a story which said that junior officers are leaving as soon as their commitment is up at an alarming rate. There is also a recruitment problem and the reserves are stretched thin.

    Winston, Iraq is in the early stages of Civil War. Our military mission has deteriorated to plugging thumbs into continually emerging holes and pretty soon the dam will burst. If that happens Winston, if we have to leave Iraq with our tail between our legs, will you still believe that Mr. Rumsfled is “one of the greatest military thinkers of all time?â€? Or will it be that he is the greatest – except for that one little mistake concerning troop numbers in Iraq.

  • Nikos

    1. CCM: great post.

    2. sarcastic bird…uh, sorry, I mean serious lee: are you gonna let Winston in on the truth of your delicious irony? (You can pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about – and that’s fine: I’ll happily pretend I’m wrong if you insist. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time!)

    3. Winston, I’m probably wrong and often am, but its seems to me that Rumsfeld’s ‘genius’ is that he’s transforming the military from the behemoth born in WWII and given its last hurrah in the first Gulf war into a quick reaction force capable of ‘defending American interests’ all over the globe within days instead of after weeks of slow transport. (‘American interests’ btw, are almost invariably economic, which ought to expand this conversation toward the notion of ‘empire’. But I haven’t got the time for it today.) The rescaling from self-supporting divisions to self-supporting brigades is the battlefield manifestation of this (and a logical restructuring considering the vastly more lethal arms and tactics American soldiers now employ).

    Yet that’s not the kind of force Iraq required after its conquest. For securing the conquest – including all those pesky bypassed Iraqi ammo dumps – the American effort in Iraq needed 2 to 3 times as many troops: a more 1970’s ‘Fulda Gap’ kind of force. Shinseki understood this — and got ‘retired’ for saying it publicly.

    Failure to increase the force size, combined with the abolishment of the Iraqi army, has led directly to what we now witness: the incremental unraveling of the British-stitched former Ottoman entity called Iraq.

    Increasing the force size would have meant a draft, and a draft would have ended W’s presidency in 2004. Which, to my admittedly plebian mind, means that Rummie was willing to sacrifice countless Iraqi lives to insurgent violence and to a ‘death of a thousand cuts’ level of civil war just to keep his smirking Christian-hypocrite boss in place for another four years of malfeasance and republic-looting.

    That’s not ‘effective’ or otherwise laudable: it’s cynical and disgraceful, if not criminally negligent.

  • cheesechowmain

    Nikos: “Yet that’s not the kind of force Iraq required after its conquest…a more 1970’s ‘Fulda Gap’ kind of force. Shinseki understood this — and got ‘retired’ for saying it publicly.” I couldn’t agree more. I like the analogy. I guess Iraq has turned into been turned into a Fulda du jour.

    I haven’t heard articulated from the DoD and/or civilian side why the Powell doctrine was scuttled, at least for the present. If it has been addressed as to why it’s the wrong kind approach, I haven’t heard it yet. Perhaps it has.

    Nikos: “Increasing the force size would have meant a draft” If this administration hadn’t prematurely ended the U.N. effort, we might have been able to gather more strategic force. Since the international community seemed dead set against the incursion, at least until Dr. Blix team had completed its findings, it should have been a wake up call as to the narrowing of options: to increase force means a possible draft. Whenever options are narrowed, your adversary has gained one more step neutralizing your effectiveness. An effective insurgency will quickly grok the implications.

  • Potter

    I think Cheney is the head of the snake. Actually I like snakes. I don’t know why I this analogy is used. I have a nest of them right outside my front door. They should be awakening soon…. oh lovely Spring!

    Nikos- your no. 3 I think is right. We need a lot of little brigades all over the globe. Everywhere. Defending our interests. Militarily. Right Winston?

    How about sending a brigade or two to Darfur??

  • nother

    Dismantling the Iraqi Army (lower ranks) might have been an even bigger mistake than low troop levels.

    Winston, would you send you child to roam the streets of Iraq for this cause? Would Rumsfeld send his child to those streets? Would a younger Rumsfeld have the courage and conviction in this mission to take up arms and roam those ominous streets?

  • cheesechowmain

    nother: “Winston, you write that the “US military is coming thru this better and stronger.â€? Most military strategists will suggest that a successful military campaign, especially in matters of counter-insurgency, is a matter of a successful political and civil infrastructural outcome. Without stable political and civil infrastructural, violent tactical force successes are hollow and ultimately defeated. Support will wane. If this geography we call ‘Iraq’ can pull these things together, and there have been small incremental successes, then there will be a decent shot at success.

    To be perfectly blunt and non-partisan, I actually cannot predict how things will swing in Iraq. I try not to let my personal beefs with this administration cloud my judgement. But if I were betting the lives of my family members on this I would say this is likely to be a futile exercise in U.S. military force. That’s what the short term odds look like to my myopic mindset; myopia partially externally induced because U.S. civilian leadership doesn’t encourage discourse and exploration for common citizens. And the press should be mothballed into a recognition that it is strictly an entertainment vehicle.

    Regarding the chances of success in Iraq, I sincercely hope I’m incorrect in this assessment. Politics aside, there are human resources at stake here, and it’s a serious matter which supercedes my personal feelings about the political climate. The often unstated problem with a successful outcome in Iraq is there is great fear that will only encourage further U.S. military incursions. This has created a completely lose-lose outcome in the abuse of military power.

    Potter: “I think Cheney is the head of the snake. Actually I like snakes. I don’t know why I this analogy is used.” He’s a bipedal primate, that most odious creature known to itself as homo-sapien. Snakes have a far superior ethical compass.

  • Thought that this quote might be helpful for tonight’s show:

    The question is whether Rumsfeld and his generals have learned from past mistakes. Or rather, perhaps, the question is whether George W. Bush has learned from Rumsfeld’s past mistakes. … If his current secretary of defense cannot make the adjustments that are necessary, the president should find one who will.

    Robert Kagan and William Kristol, April 26th, 2004, editorial in the Weekly Standard.

    Timothy Noah of Slate noted shortly thereafter that Kristol and Kagan strategically retreated from this position– not because the war suddenly made a turn for the better, because the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, and it suddenly became fashionable to call for Rumsfeld’s resignation.

  • Just tuned in. Who is this woman guest you have on? She wants it both ways. It’s unheard of for so many generals to be speaking out. But on the other hand, she is aghast that so much press coverage is being devoted to this.

  • Nikos

    Speaking of poetry (although it’s about Dubya not Rummie, and it’s much more effective within its excellent musical accompaniment than as free-standing verse):


    How does he do it? How do they do it? Uncanny and immutable.

    This is such a happening tailpipe of a party.

    Like sugar, the guests are so refined.

    A confidence man but why so beleagued?

    He’s not a leader he’s a Texas leaguer.

    Swinging for the fence. Got lucky with a strike.

    Drilling for fear makes the job simple.

    Born on third. Thinks he got a triple.

    Blackout weaves its way through the cities.

    Blackout weaves its way through the cities.

    Blackout weaves its way.

    I remember when you sang that song about today.

    Now it’s tomorrow and everything has changed.

    A think tank of aloof multiplication.

    A nicotine wish and a columbus decanter.

    Retrenchment and hoggishness.

    The aristocrat choir sings, “What’s the ruckus?”

    The haves have not a clue.

    The immenseness of suffering.

    And the odd negotiation. A rarity.

    With onionskin plausibility of life.

    And a keyboard reaffirmation.

    Blackout weaves its way through the cities.

    Blackout weaves its way through the cities.

    Blackout weaves its way.

    I remember when you sang that song about today.

    Now it’s tomorrow and everything has changed.

    Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard; 2002

    Pearl Jam – Riot Act

  • cheesechowmain

    Nikos: “Born on third. Thinks he got a triple.”

    Best line I’ve heard in years! LOL.

  • Nikos

    CCM: It’s a great album from an underappreciated band that’s as consistently humanistic as they are consistently rockin’, artful, excellent, and soulful.

  • Potter

    Towards the end I think Chris was coming around to the “something is missing” thing that plagues me at least about Rumsfeld. He is very intelligent. It seems like he thinks alot and perhaps deeply but he stops short of taking a moral stand. This business about not knowing and knowing what you don’t know is true- but he stops with that as sort of an excuse to hide behind. That leaves him unable to listen to any inner voice ( or at least let us know about it). It might cacth up with him one day. I think he is gambling. Rumsfled seems sort of like an automaton, but a very intelligent one. This is sexy and mysterious.. as Midge Dicter admits. I Imagine Nazi Germany was filled with these kind of people at the top.

  • I have no need to defend Rumsfeld, but the Nazi comparison is cheap, tawdry, despicable, atrocious, and inaccurate. He’s a personable guy, unlike, say, the Vice President.

    Brendan’s description at the top of the page is quite fitting.

  • Jon,

    Not to be argumentative, and realizing the severe sensitivity of evoking the German ‘N” word, I think that Potter’s point was that despicable people can hide behind “personable’ presentations. They are even more dangerous than the clearly onerous. To have a personable nature and a sharp mind and then to pursue a path with vacuousness and callousness is, to me, the most dangerous. It takes a lot longer to realize they’re not harmless, and its almost impossible to get others to see it.

  • Nikos

    CCM: I just dropped an aside to you in the Alley (post #194).

  • Nikos

    Allison: right on.

    I seem to recall favorable prewar accounts of the personalities of several notable Nazis, such as Goering and Speer, at least. These accounts came from diplomats of the nations that would soon fight the Nazi edifice — and eventually hang Goering and pals. Now, Rummie’s no Nazi — but he’s an arrogant intellectual in thrall to a non-humanisitc and hierarchy-worshipping ideology. Like Speer.

  • Potter

    Jon_ Wow! I just checked in. Sorry that I got you so unnerved as to say all those awful things about me. I ask why?

    I am grateful to Allison ( and Nikos) for not only allowing me benefit of the doubt but getting my meaning perfectly. I was not saying that Rumsfeld was a Nazi. Hell no. I was saying he stopped short of allowing a sense of morality to kick in. He shrugged his shoulders. This is what I imagine “personable guys” in Nazi Germany did. They suspended their morality.

    Tell me Jon.. when is it proper or improper use those lessons of history? If not now when?

  • Potter

    This is a quote from Brendan on Rumsfeld” above:

    “I’m a survivor,â€? he told the troops last year, speaking, of course, of his unparalleled ability to hold on to appointed office. It’s an odd thing to say to an audience for whom survival means actually not getting killed.

    I would say unparallelled insensitivity hiding underneath that charm. Shocking. And this is just one instance of it.

  • serious lee

    Nikos, You Greek God, I certainly do not know what you refer to. I’m just a simple country girl diggin’ through this big ol’ pile of words tryin’ to make some sense of it all. Gotta go, I’m gettin’ the vapors.

  • When I listen to Rumsfeld, I recall Adorno and Horkheimer’s argument in the Dialectic of Enlightenment.

    “Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity.”

    This seems to describe the Iraq campaign perfectly. The three boys who fill our living spaces and with their veneer of reasonableness mask an ego driven desire to mastery. Bush at times reveals his tenous grasp of things, but Rumsfeld and Cheney can look into the camera and calmly, bureaucratically, betray the public trust with logical explanations for commanding horrendous acts against humanity.

    Some regimes have these types lurking in the shadows and others, where the public has been conditioned and passified, bring them out in full view. We can well imagine examples from the past.

    allison is right. They are the most dangerous because they can seem almost innocuous at times.

    Here’s another one Nikos. Also better with the music.

    This is Baghdad (Bruce Cockburn)

    Everything’s broken in the birthplace of law

    As Generation Two tries out his tragic flaw.

    America’s might under desert sun

    I saw her frightened eyes behind the muzzle of her gun.

    Uranium dust and the smell of decay

    Sewage in the streets where the kids run and play

    Not enough morphine and not enough gauze

    Firefight in darkness like snapping of jaws.

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    You couldn’t see the blast

    The morning was bright

    But some radiant energy flared up into the night

    Like the skies throwing its hands up in horrified dismay

    At the souls of the dead as they sped on their way

    Car bombed and carjacked

    And kidnapped and shot

    How do you like it

    This freedom we brought?

    We packed all the ordinance

    But the thing we forgot

    Is a plan in case things didn’t turn out quite like we thought

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

    This is Baghdad

  • fiddlesticks

    “Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity.�

    Yes, and they made comment as much about Soviet Russia as about National Socialist Germany.

    By the time they wrote that book they were in exile and their mistrust extended even to the democratic West. (Who could blame them.)

    However, in general Adorno and Horkheimer trusted the bourgeois west much more than the Communist East which they thought had betrayed the Enlightenment project.

  • fiddlesticks

    Sidewalker’s use of the quote above is taken way out of context.

    “This seems to describe the Iraq campaign perfectly. The three boys who fill our living spaces and with their veneer of reasonableness mask an ego driven desire to mastery. Bush at times reveals his tenous grasp of things, but Rumsfeld and Cheney can look into the camera and calmly, bureaucratically, betray the public trust with logical explanations for commanding horrendous acts against humanity.”

  • Nikos

    Chris: thanks for the Post-Game. I recommend it to everyone — especially for the photo-page he links us to. Your tax dollars at work.

  • Chris – you are a moral coward. Those photos are of people who are fighting for thier country. Even after this, they still keep lining up to serve as policemen and in the Army.

    And, the Americans closest to this, US Military members, see this everyday and choose to stay and help. Your smug comments simply illustrate the decadance of your detached point of view.

  • Nikos – the tax dollars you speak of allows these people to fight against those who perptrate these horrors and while you sit here cringing in your weekness these people are there trying to join the modern world.

    Where were you when they were being butchered, in silence? Remember, Eason Jordan said that CNN was in Bahgdad and knew about the Saddam’s atrosities yet said nothing because they wanted to keep access to Iraq.

    You could multiply these photos supplied by Chris by 1,000 and still not match the pre-liberation carnage.

    Moral cowardess must be spreading.

  • Nikos

    Winston: HELLO? The point is that we might have gone in with enough forces to secure the conquered country — or ought to have continued working through the UN.

    Instead, we did it half-assed – not the soldiers, but the planners — whose chieftain is Rumsfeld. The result? Iraqis, including those pictured children, are paying with their lives for Rumsfeld’s smug arrogance.

    Now do you get it?

  • ladyingreen

    Excuse me but the Project for A New American Century and the NeoComs are a BAD BAD BAD policy. The NEOCONS invoke WWII and Hitler constantly, The NEOCONS and the Capitalists need to get together. If you really believe in free markets do not engage in regressive foreign policy.

    I could go on but I need to listen to the program.

    Kick out the NEOCONS

  • How is the quote out of context when Adorno and Horkheimer were writing about blind domination and this is replicated by the present US regime. They also argued that when people use the progress of modern science and industry to carry out genocide (Fallujah and create weapons of mass destruction, reason has become irrational. Does it matter if this done by the bourgeois west or the Communist East?

  • Nikos – 5 million US troops wouldn’t have acheived the post war situation that cynics like you want. You, and people who mindlessly carp like you, have no real solutions. There is no perfect war, there are only tradeoffs.

    And unless you can enlighten me, I see no obvious economic advantage to the Iraq invasion. If you read the papers oil just hit > $ 70 bucks a barrel and it is from the US’s pressure on Iran.

    A liberalized Middle East is in our long term benefits but that is, once again, witnessed by Europe and Japan.

  • Winston, Chris unpatriotic, too?

  • That should have read,

    Winston, is Chris unpariotic, too?

  • ladyingreen

    Contining to listen to the program. So what is so great about neocons. Bush and company policies are not good for this country.

    The lady talking does not know what she is talking about. She is in the dark putting it nicely in ideas about war and strategy. My Husband is MAD listening to her. He is a former Army intelliengce officer.

    Excuse misspellings my eyes are bad.

  • ladyingreen

    To Winston Dodson, we could have dumped 1,000,000. laptops with sattlelite hookups, in Iraq and have achieved more with less. Information and a free internet is the most effective way to spread democracy

  • cheesechowmain

    I agree with Nikos. Chris put together a fine post game analysis. I love the moral energy Chris brings to the show. It shows sturdy, unwavering courage in the current media climate. Brief aside though: I personally find the parsing of Secretary Rumsfeld as a PoMo study sort of disquieting.

  • Nikos

    Sidewalker: we dissenters are something less and worse than patriotic: we are mentally ill seditionists – at least, according to the lunatic Right now in political ascendance and improbably perceived as ‘mainstream’ (which, btw, makes your average septic tank a part of the ‘mainstream’).

    CCM: what’s ‘PoMo’? (Did I miss something?)

    Winston: let me work backwards through your 11:24 PM so that we can at least agree on something first:

    1. “A liberalized Middle East is in our long term benefits but that is, once again, witnessed by Europe and Japan.�

    Agreed – however, expecting the Muslim Middle East to love us after our Iraq misadventure might be asking a wee bit too much. I’m not questioning the good-heartedness of our troops, or their bravery, or any of their personal motives.

    And it’s apparent to this ‘cynic’ that although many in the Middle East want democracy – or at least the overthrow of their inherited tyrannies – they don’t want it to cost the lives of their families or the structural soundness of their neighborhoods.

    We had a chance in Afghanistan to show the Muslim world that we had the will and generosity to properly rebuild a country after ‘changing’ its regime. (And remember: I, almost alone of all the gutter-snipy bloggers who frequent this site, supported the Afghanistan intervention. I am firm in my conviction that the Taliban had to go, and for a millions of different reasons—many of those reasons being female.) Such a demonstration of our will, power, and human decency would have opened the minds and hearts and, most importantly, the credulity of millions of reasonable Muslims.

    We might have focused on catching Bin Laden and eradicating all of the Taliban, but instead diverted our military to Kuwait for the Iraq invasion build-up.

    We’ll never know if the Saddam regime might have eventually fallen from within. And even if it wouldn’t have, where was the need to go in so hastily? Another year of pressure from sanctions, accompanied by our building of a force structured to comply with Shinseki’s personell recommendations, would have ultimately hurt far fewer people than this fractious and agonized country-wide bleeding-to-death the Iraqis must endure as a consequence of Bush’s impatience.

    Point number 2: “And unless you can enlighten me, I see no obvious economic advantage to the Iraq invasion. If you read the papers oil just hit > $ 70 bucks a barrel and it is from the US’s pressure on Iran.�

    Fine. Try this little gem:

    Point number 3: “Five million US troops wouldn’t have achieved the post war situation that cynics like you want.�

    I beg to differ. Five million troops is what – 30 or 40 times the number we went in with? (I’m bad with math.) Hell, Shinseki said that only two or three times the number we went in with would likely have been sufficient – or at least the minimum for any realistic chance for success.

    We needed extra troops – not overpaid mercenaries from KBR and Custer Battles, but troops – to secure the Iraqi ammo dumps that, after we bypassed ‘em, have supplied the insurgents with a gazillion tons of explosives. Explosives that have killed and maimed Americans and Iraqis for three years + now.

    “You, and people who mindlessly carp like you, have no real solutions.�

    Hmmm…because I view war as only a last resort, and not an attractive first option?

    Working for peaceful solutions isn’t ‘real’, or ‘realistic’? (And why does this sound so 1940’s-Germany???)

    Well, then you’re right. I’m hopelessly unrealistic, and a mindless carper.

    Moreover, I’m certainly no saint, and not even a Christian, but I think you might just have inadvertently lumped me in with the famous seditionist-likes of those scummy riff-raff called Martin Luther King, Ghandi, and Jesus of Nazareth.

    ‘Course, I’m not worthy of their company, but they are each (arguably) famous for preaching and working for ‘mindlessly unrealistic’ non-violent solutions. ‘Mindless carpers’, each and every one of ’em!

    “There is no perfect war, there are only tradeoffs.�



    Okay pal, here’s my ‘tradeoff’: your life or limb – since you’re Mr. Patriotic American who publicly supports the war – in place of just one of those wounded and dying Iraqi children.

    Feel free to put your money where your mouth is, pal.

    And me? I’ll simply continue to meekly do my citizen’s duty: dissent and decry every chance I get the unconscionable and callus disregard of foreign lives your political heroes Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld use to justify their ‘protection of American interests in foreign parts of the world.’

    In fact, here’s a better tradeoff (since, for some increasingly mysterious reason, I actually like you): those three misbegotten lives of our ‘leaders’ in place of any three Iraqi children’s.

    Let them reap what they sow.

    (And you? You can stay here alive and well, and come to your damned senses someday!)

  • nother

    So Winston, Chris is a moral coward, huh. Pretty tough words – you must be a tough guy or something. I’m reluctant to dignify that childishness with any response, but I will say part of what Chris was speaking to was the “sanitized imagery” of this war we get from that “mainstream” media that you so loath. You know what I’m talking about, the imagery we’re not supposed to see, like those caskets of our dead boys coming home.

    Ahh Winston, your eloquent response to Chris brings to mind nostalgic memories from school days gone by, when the class bully confronted with his own ignorance would strike back with a reasoned articulate response such as, “oh yea, well, well, you’re just a damm coward, that’s what you are.” Let me say something concerning the masters degree you have (I know you have one because you made sure to point it out earlier) this degree of yours has done wonders with the quality of your name calling. For instance, take the sentence, “Your smug comments simply illustrate the decadence of your detached point of view.” Wow Winston, that sentence does not just roll off the tongue of your average school yard bully, that sentence reeks of a refined education, a very expensive education.

    I’m sure sentences like that are a big hit at that “major right wing blog” you blog at. The one you forgot to give us a link to. I’m not saying its cowardly not to give us that link, I’m just saying you probably forgot. You tell us you won’t be participating here anymore because now you will be bloging over there. You can run off to that bubble and preach to that choir if you want, but the facts on the ground are not going to change Winston. The facts on the ground are not going to change.

  • Nikos, why are you obliged to make the following statement?

    I’m not questioning the good-heartedness of our troops, or their bravery, or any of their personal motives.

    I think you can indeed question the motivation of many, though not all, members of the military. They are professional soldiers and military personnel on an aggressor campaign. Granted, some are there, sadly, for lack of other choices. Also, some have just bought into the America as global saviour pitch. For these we people we should probably question their educators. But this is not a roving circus, bringing joy and entertainment. These people have guns in their hands and enter peoples houses. They drag innocent people out into the street. They confine and beat them. Sometimes they kill children. Is this brave?

    It would be braver to stand up to their own national leaders with flowers in those same guns and demand that they follow the laws of the land. Then we would know that their motives are unquestionable and we could call the troop good-hearted. Not until that time.

  • Nikos: “PoMo” is PostModern. One slice of PostModernism is deconstruction, which roughly means you dissect a person’s motivations for what they have written/done (the old reliable example is often of the sort “this white male elitist perpetuates the white male elite,” etc.)

    Just tuning back to answer the mini-thread above. No, Potter, I was not saying awful things about *you* but instead about your *rhetoric.* There’s a difference here.

    “when is it proper or improper use those lessons of history?”

    Well, we have *enough* lessons of American history to use that apply today (McNamara, Watergate), it is a cheap to go ahead and make an indirect comparison to the Nazis. I should have written see Godwin’s Law and left it at that.

    Funny, this whole exchange rings a bell. Back on the October 18th show on Theocracy in America, one listener (timkar) cried foul when he thought he heard Chris compare James Dobson to Ayatollah Al-Sistani. And this sounded strange until two people actually listened to the show afterwards– Potter and myself. We both determined that timkar didn’t hear correctly, and furthermore, I had re-learned that Al-Sistani wasn’t the bad sort of guy we generally associated with Ayatollah, so I posted that, and timkar acquiesced on that point.

  • Nikos

    sidewalker: with all due respect, I don’t realistically expect 17-24 year olds to see through the jingo-junk our professional propagandists at Fox & on rightwing radio spew 24/7.

    My expectations rise incrementally with every year of age of any given person, however. Which damns Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of their war-criminal leadership like to exactly the sort of opprobrium you allude to in your 1:45 AM. All of those slimeballs are old enough to know better. But not one of them has a compassionate bone in their bodies. No one with a whit of empathy could live with himself, let alone sleep at night, after making so many errors that have led to the deaths of so many innocents.

    The only good thing about this discussion now, as I see it, is that Chris had the courage to link us sheltered Americans to the grisly photos of Bush’s Folly.

    Every American should be made to view those sorts of images every day — until the criminally negligent perpetrators are defenestrated and sent to the Hague for justice.

  • My question, Nikos, was why you felt obliged, in your discussion with Winston, to qualify your comment about the military (granted the point you make in your 2:02 post). The reason I ask is that I have come across such statements so often, as if it is a kind of protection againt charges of being unpatriotic. When I read what you write, I can’t help thinking of you, Chris, nother and many more of the contributors here as the kind of real patriots the US needs many more of. So I was just wondering.

  • intrepid.white.boy

    My God, man! That shrivelled c-nt, so deluded with her own beliefs, managed to tear off part of Christopher’s face, mauling him as he grinned and giggled, all the while passing up the obvious follow-up questions.

    No wonder we got into this stupid war. If you can’t ask tough questions after three years, its not wonder you didn’t ask them when this idiocy began.

    I guess we’re lucky, as Americans, to have a free press. We’re also damned to failure because our press isn’t very good.

    I can’t wait to hear Chris’s Berlosconi retrospective. Maybe Mussolini’s daughter will tap-dance on his head and the Pope will goose-step across the studio as Chris casually licks their toes. It’d be just as informative and slightly more entertaining than the sh-t Christopher shared tonight.

    Great job, kids.

  • Potter

    Jon Garfunkel I have read quite a number of your posts and my take is that you are deeply interested in conversations on the internet, etiquette, structure, etc. I could not get through to Wiki on Godwin’s law this AM ( the site is down) but read this:

    I have run into conversations here and there where the ( or improper or misuse) use of Nazi example or the word “Nazi” on gets an excited reaction as well it should. It’s the worst example we can think of and so it is used as a weapon. But I was not aware of Godwin’s Law” or that it has become such a thing that a law exists.

    This is what that link says about the law:

    If someone brings up Nazis in general conversation when it

    * wasn’t necessary or germane without it necessarily being an

    insult, it’s probably about time for the thread to end.

    * If someone brings up Nazis in general conversation when it

    was vaguely related but is basically being used as an insult,

    the speaker can be considered to be flaming and not debating.

    * If someone brings up Nazis in any conversation that has been

    going on too long for one of the parties, it can be used as

    a fair excuse to end the thread and declare victory for the

    other side.

    I was surprised at your response, on the other hand and took it to be a flame, an unnecessary (and unwarranted imo) escalation using very strong language. You explain now you were dissociating my “rhetoric” from me. This does not work for me with the words you chose. Also this a surprise since you are supposedly more aware of this Godwin Law than I and thus the way it proceeds.

    I defend my comparison to what happened in Nazi Germany as being germane and apt as at least two others here agree. Your suggestion of using McNamara does not work for me- McNamara is now contrite. Rumsfeld MIGHT get to that place but maybe not (as someone on the show suggested). Your suggestion of Watergate dos not work for me either, lives were not at stake in Watergate. What is happening now is so much worse than Watergate ever was.

    Again my point was about the suspension of morality. Obviously Rumsfeld is having an existential problem. As Michael Gordon points out at a press conference he asks and answers his his own questions. And he will not let a mistake register-stuff happens.

    I fail to see what this discussion has to do with the episode about Ali-Sistani and Timkar. You and I agreed in that instance, we disagree here. My feeling is that you misapplied Godwin’s law. Or maybe part of the law is that this example is so overused that people see red now without considering. not my fault. I hardly if ever use it myself. But because the Nazi comparison is abused ( as is my own pet peeve calling someone an “anti-Semite” ) does not mean that there are moments when no other comparison quite makes the point as well.

    Still I do have to take into account the facts of life here on the net that any use at all may get this reaction.

    (BTW The post this one just above uses “Mussolini” and “goosestepping” rhetorically. This get’s around the law.)

  • From Chris “this blundering and death in the desert ”

    His contiunual editorializing and his link to negative photos that might be news to people on this site, like Nikos, that implies that somehow this is because of Rumsfeld and not despite him, is all the evidence that I need of moral cowardess.

    And Nikos, I am probably the only one on this blog that has been in Iraq. It was in the first Gulf War and not this one but I have given for Iraqi children and children all over the world and you sit there and write on this blog as if you have any idea of what giving is. I feel that every Iraq soldier that I participated in killing or by killing his buddies, to not continue to fight, saved an Iraqi childs life. And every day that I spent in the military was giving some lard ass the opportunity to sit at home at home and think what he wanted to think.

    Then, Sidetalkers comments that some in military have no other options. They all do, with %4.7 Unemployement they do. And the AVERAGE enlisted member is better educated than the average American – 95 % of all enlsitees have a Hisg School Diploma while only 75% of Americans graduated high school. 100 % of Officers have college degrees (with ~ 15% from Ivy League) both, much more than US at large.

  • April 19, 2006

    U.S. Generals Call for Resignation of Media Leaders

    by Scott Ott

    (2006-04-19) — A growing movement of retired and active-duty U.S. military officers, angry at the mismanagement, arrogance and even deception that have hampered U.S. efforts to secure peace and democracy in Iraq, have begun quietly calling for the resignation of top leaders they blame for the difficulties.

    “I believe that it’s time for them to step down,� said one unnamed retired three-star general. “The editors of The New York Times and Washington Post and the news producers at CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC should resign effective immediately.�

    NYT Times Stock Drops by 50% since 2002

    Morgan Stanley Investment Management said Tuesday it withheld votes for the [New York] Times’ director nominees because it believes the company’s board and management have become unaccountable to shareholders.

    Maybe if Chris and NYT spent more time presenting the news instead of infusing it with thier opinions, they would be more successful?

  • Potter

    The pictures linked in Chris’ “post-game analysis” are required looking here in the US. This war is being conducted on our behalf and yet we have been shielded from the suffering. It should weigh on all of us, supporters and non-supporters alike. No war should be fought so emotionless so mindlessly. The only thing we have to counteract the remoteness of it, the secrecy, the arrogance, the promise of more and more to come is these powerful images, so few of the many that there must be, and tucked away on a web site. How dare anyone complain. Turn away if you cannot take it.

  • Potter

    Winston Dodson: In other words in childish reaction to the call for Rumsfeld to resign, let’s blame the messengers,. The MSM should print more photos ( and in color).

    I’ll keep my NYTimes subscription. (The NYT has had a lot more change in leadership recently than this government).

  • Winston, thanks for setting the record straight on the question of an educated military. I stand corrected.

    I now can freely question the motivation of all military members, since as “educated” people, they should know that it is not ok to go into the next neighbourhood, the next county or the next country, bomb buildings and houses, burn the flesh off of people, shoot up cars, torture, and then snap photos for the folks back home. Or is this what you mean by being educated?

  • nother

    “Maybe if Chris and NYT spent more time presenting the news instead of infusing it with their opinions, they would be more successful?â€?

    By “successfulâ€? I assume you mean ratings? I’m not sure if thats exactly Chris’s motivation. But yea, let’s get away from that infusing opinions stuff; let’s look for models like FOX news? we wouldn’t be subjected to opinions if we look for objective journalism in places like Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, right?

    “And Nikos, I am probably the only one on this blog that has been in Iraq. It was in the first Gulf War and not this one but I have given for Iraqi children and children all over the world and you sit there and write on this blog as if you have any idea of what giving is. I feel that every Iraq soldier that I participated in killing or by killing his buddies, to not continue to fight, saved an Iraqi childs life. And every day that I spent in the military was giving some lard ass the opportunity to sit at home at home and think what he wanted to think.”

    Hey Mother Theresa I mean Winston, I joined the Navy during the first Gulf War and went right over there. So that means your assumption about being the only one on this blog is wrong. You were WRONG Winston Dodson! Does that shock you, that one of your many assumptions could actually have been wrong? But why let facts get in the way of hyperbole and resentful rhetoric. You have no idea who Nikos is, but that’s not a problem, you have him sized up anyway – you are Winston Dodson!

    I’m sure, the fact that I was over there in the Navy and not the Marines, is not good enough for you. I’m sure the fact that I was enlisted is not good enough for you. But let me tell you something, I had a conversation with Tom Hudner the other day. He is a Medal of Honor winner from the Korean conflict who now lives in Concord MA. This man has more grace, compassion, and courage in his little finger than you and I have put together. Let me relay something he told a few of us that day, I wrote it down right after he said it. “One of my objections to the Iraq war is there will be all kids coming back with war stories and our war stories won’t have the same priority.” That quote has many layers and meanings and your comments today remind me of one of them. Guys like you Winston, who run around pleading with people to view them as heroes because they spent a little time in the Gulf, are taking up space from the real heroes in our midst. You should be ashamed of yourself Winston Dodson. Reading your posts, I’m inclined to describe the lack of humility, the blatant insecurity, and mean spirited arrogance; but I think it runs even deeper than that.

    “And every day that I spent in the military was giving some lard ass the opportunity to sit at home at home and think what he wanted to think.”

    Why bring Dick Cheney into this?

  • Katherine Jackson

    This show was disgraceful. Donald Rumsfeld is not funny. If he is a such a wily survivor, we better figure out why before he brings more disgrace to our country. To quote Maureen Dowd today in the Times:

    “The secretary made it sound as if the generals want him to resign because he made reforms. But they really want him to resign because he made gigantic, horrible, arrogant mistakes that will be taught in history classes forever”.

    Why was this something like this not said (Chris, you yourself came the closest, but there was nothing like this from any of your guests)?? Read the rest of Ms Dowd if you haven’t already. This is a critical, urgent situation.

  • cheesechowmain

    Potter: “The pictures linked in Chris’ “post-game analysisâ€? are required looking here in the US.” I couldn’t agree more, except I’d relax the requirement by suggesting everyone regardless of citizenship should view them. Military violence and its effects should never be kept invisible. To not acknowledge the struggle these people are going through is to dishonor the lives of all protagonists involved be they military, civilian, insurgent, or non-human animal. All lives are treasures, all lives are precious, all lives are equal before their creator, and their loss under these methods are a failure of human will, thinking, and the most paradoxically, it is a failure of the courage of conviction, which is what these pictures attempt to explain.

  • Nikos

    Mornin’, ROS Nation.

    “The calculations of politicians about their electoral futures should pale in comparison to the urgency of examining perhaps the most disastrous five years of decision-making of any modern American presidency.�

  • babu

    There is somehow a deep (negative) psychological convergence here. On the one hand Rumsfeld seems to care not at all for the lives of others and on the other, the suicide bombers care not at all for their own.

    While there is much historic and human precedence for Rumsfeld, the suicidal activists seem off of the graph of human behavior, in numbers, that is.

    This is not to say that they are specifically cause and effect, but part of a global cultural response to something. The question is what.

  • Oceanconcepts

    I can’t get out of my mind an interview I read in the months prior to the Iraq invasion.

    The interviewee was a Brit, working with NGO’s, and a veteran of a number of wars and post war reconstructions in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans. He was familiar with Iraq, and confessed to strong ambivalence about the likely invasion. He really wanted to see Saddam Hussein gone, but was fearful of the aftermath.

    I can no longer find the actual interview, but I’ll paraphrase: ” If they do invade, I hope to God they do it with enough troops. There is ALWAYS an explosion of chaos following the collapse of a government. The Americans can count on being welcomed as liberators- for about a day an a half. But if they cannot secure the public order in the day or two following the invasion, then all the wrong elements will rush into the power vacuum, and you will be dealing with them for years. If the ordinary people are not reasonably secure, they will come to blame the Americans, and without the support of the ordinary people rebuilding Iraq will be immeasurably more difficult. There is no substitute for having large numbers of troops to keep the peace. This is a lesson we have seen repeated over and over again.” Indeed. It’s the lesson of thousands of years of military history.

    He was far from alone in that assessment. Gen. Shinseki, of course, and General Zinni, but it was also generally shared by a war plan developed at the Navy War College and by the “Future of Iraq” report. A great deal of planning and research was done. We knew about the decayed state of the infrastructure, the likelihood of an insurgency developing and of the potential for sectarian violence if public order was not preserved. The only voices not raising these warnings seemed to be the Neocons and the “Gucci Guerillas” that were feeding them their “intelligence”.

    There is a logical inconsistency to many of the posts defending the administration- they portray a false dichotomy- either you support the administration’s actions, or you are opposing the liberation of Iraq and favoring totalitarian regimes. For me, it’s a question of poor judgment. Saddam needed to go. But our timing was terrible. The unilateral way the Iraq invasion was carried out turned a large part of the world- which had been much more sympathetic to us post 9/11- against us. Above all the spectacular, mind numbing incompetence of the top civilian leadership in failing to listen to those who knew what they were getting into betrays an almost offhand casualness towards wasting lives in war.

    Was it Rumsfield behind the decision to plan only for the rosiest of outcomes? I don’t know. He was certainly dishonest in his many post war protestations about things unforeseen- plenty of us saw them coming, those in positions of power who said so publicly were ridiculed, rendered irrelevant, or fired. There are two Rumsfelds to deal with- the one at least partly behind the Iraq disaster, and the one who is pushing much needed streamlining and modernizing of the military.

    re. the show- the female guest got away with way too much without being challenged. It is supreme intellectual and moral dishonesty to compare tactical mistakes made with limited information in WWII- particularly events like the Battle of the Bulge- with the kind of willful ignorance that has characterized this administration’s strategic judgments. They are not remotely similar.

  • Potter: I think the pertinent part of Godwin’s law is here:

    “One common objection to the invocation of Godwin’s Law is that sometimes using Hitler or the Nazis is an apt way of making a point. For instance, if one is debating the relative merits of a particular leader, and someone says something like, “He’s a good leader, look at the way he’s improved the economy,” one could reply, “Just because he improved the economy doesn’t make him a good leader. Even Hitler improved the economy.” Some would view this as a perfectly acceptable comparison, because this example uses Hitler as a well-known example of an extreme case that requires no explanation to prove that a generalization is not universally true.

    Some would argue, however, that Godwin’s Law applies especially to the situation mentioned above, as it portrays an inevitable appeal to emotion as well as holding an implied ad hominem attack on the subject being compared, both of which are fallacious in irrelevant contexts. Hitler, on a semiotic level, has far too many negative connotations associated with him to be used as a valid comparison to anything but other despotic dictators. Thus, Godwin’s Law holds even when making comparisons to normal leaders that, on the surface, would seem to be reasonable comparisons.

    Godwin’s standard answer to this objection is to note that Godwin’s Law does not dispute whether, in a particular instance, a reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be apt. It is precisely because such a reference or comparison may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued, that hyperbolic overuse of the Hitler/Nazi comparison should be avoided. Avoiding such hyperbole, he argues, is a way of ensuring that when valid comparisons to Hitler or Nazis are made, such comparisons have the appropriate impact.”

    I find this point quite valid. It is too easy to use Hitler/Nazi as some sort of definitive example. It invokes so much more than the point at hand and cannot be debated. Thus it ends a discussion rather than enriching it. Perhaps, those of us on ROS would like to commit to avoiding this example and work to find better ways to make our points.

  • Potter

    Thanks Allison. I’d be interested to know how others feel.

  • Potter, since I know how fair and thoughtful you are, your reference to Nazi Germany did not strike me as overly hyperbolic or inflammatory. I think we are still living in the shadow of the death camps and under the atomic clouds of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Have those experiences taught us nothing? My reference to Adorno and Horkheimer and their discussion on science and reason was my way of drawing a connection between these (and other) militaristic societies in the modern age.

  • I just can’t believe anybody would think of Rumsfeld as a sex symbol. I never heard that before and it just totally grossed me out. He’s greasy, cold-hearted and he’s into torture. Ick!

  • Potter: “This is sexy and mysterious.. as Midge Dicter admits. I Imagine Nazi Germany was filled with these kind of people at the top”.

    After my above post I went back through the thread looking for the Nazi reference in question. Frankly Potter I’m more disturbed by “This is sexy”… are you talking about Rumsfeld? Are you kidding?… Sorry, don’t mean to pick on you if that really is your taste.

    On the Other hand, I didn’t find your Nazi reference particularly egregious.

  • Nikos

    1. Sidewalker (2:30 AM, April 19, 2006): I agree that patriotism is too narrowly defined by the country’s current climate of jingoism. This climate is a direct result of the multimillion dollar rightwing propaganda network David Brock details in The Republican Noise Machine — (although please forgive the crappy writing of the book review/show suggestion). This machine’s influence on contemporary American discourse is as pervasive as it is destructive, and I won’t deny its impact on my own writings here on ROS. Yet that’s not why I mentioned it in my reply to Winston.

    I mentioned it instead because his protectiveness for his former military comrades is very obvious – and laudable – and I didn’t want his emotions to fully occlude his absorption of the overall point I was trying to represent. I don’t know whether I succeeded, but I tried. (It’s why I replied to his post point-for-point but in reverse order, too.)

    Despite his reflexive protectiveness of the military and of his politically conservative point of view, I respect his zeal and want him to know that despite my appreciation of it, I thoughtfully and considerately think it’s dead wrong. Irredeemably wrong. I think, in fact, that a few years or decades hence, early 21st century American conservatism will be historically viewed as an abomination – and an abomination not overly dissimilar to the fascism of Mussolini’s Italy. However, we’ve much hard work to do before that historical perspective becomes anything close to accepted. So let’s get to it, hmmm?

    2. I have now reread Potter’s controversial post three times, and cannot find it objectionable. And here’s why:

    Potter was making a comparison. Comparisons of this kind work best when the two things compared share certain intuitively comprehensible characteristics – yet not so many that they are too similar to seem immediately distinctive. Considering the subject of the thread, any comparison of the sort Potter intended must evoke the following:

    A. an overseer/minister of a military whose government is immediately recognizable instead of historically obscure — and not American!

    B. a government brought into being by popular acclaim or election — but not authentically ‘democratic’.

    C. a government whose employment of the national military was unnecessarily aggressive, egregious, and imperialistic.

    These three comparative preconditions leave the following three options:

    I. ‘Rumsfeld is like Louis-Alexandre Berthier’.

    Never heard of him? Right, and that’s no surprise – he was Napoleon Bonaparte’s Minister of War and Chief of Staff.

    The only reason I know of him is that I studied the French Revolution and Napoleonic Europe back when I was in college (in about 1830 or so).

    II. ‘Rumsfeld is like Marshal Ugo Cavallero’.

    Never heard of him, either? Right, and that’s no surprise – he was Mussolini’s second chief of Staff, who: “attempted to modernize the (Italian) Army along the lines of the German Army. However, he was dismissed after the fall of Tripoli in January 1943.�

    (Interesting, ain’t it, that that even in Fascist Italy, those who failed were dismissed – unlike in our current government of incompetent malfeasance?)

    III. ‘Rumsfeld is like (the Nazi) Albert Speer’.

    Heard of him, maybe?

    A brilliant and charming young architect and polymath whose skills got him promoted by Hitler to Minister of Armaments. A man who the Allies liked enough even during the Nuremberg trials to sentence to only 20 years instead of to life imprisonment or execution.

    Now, I’m willing to bet that Potter herself didn’t fully grasp the conditions of comparison that predicated that Rumsfeld is equivalent to Albert Speer – and she may not even have consciously thought of Speer at any point in the writing of the controversial post. I, however – a history buff – can see it plainly. And so I firmly support Potter in this silly little ROS micro-controversy.

    Now, please feel free to object – but ponder it a while please, before wasting any more of our precious time.

    3. nother, the conclusion of your 9:03 AM, April 19 really says it all! Brilliant!

  • Nother – If you were in the Navy during the first Gulf War then you weren’t in Iraq. I guess that you are one that would argue that Kerry joined the Navy to “fight” in Vietnam?

  • And Nother, your conspiracy thoeries re; OPEC, Big Oil etc would make a really bad movie – like Syriana.

  • Well, as Godwin predicted, there is nothing left to say.

  • serious lee

    I believe in magic and I love all of you in spite of our diffrences. Good night.

  • Nikos

    Allison: I do agree that it’s far too easy to compare: (your least favorite entity here) to Nazis. A few months ago, I myself wrongly used Nazism in a comparison to the Israeli West bank settler-movement and to its support by the Israeli state. And I regret it.

    But Potter’s comparison (forgive me) is not comparable to that sort of sloppy misuse. In this unusual topical instance, Potter was spot on.

    Don’t get me wrong: Rumsfeld isn’t a Nazi.

    And memes aren’t genes either.

    Just like life isn’t ‘magic’ (that’s for you, bird), and science isn’t religion.

    Comparisons draw parallels — but one mustn’t conflate the two distinct entities used in the comparison. The reader might unfortunately conflate the compared subjects much, much more than the writer ever intended.

    Potter didn’t call Rumsfeld a Nazi, and neither do I.

    Yet Rummie and Speer are just sort of…eerily similar.

    And I stand by that comparison. (And probably more than Potter would!)

  • serious lee

    Cut the crap people. Rummie lives in a universe that is beyond anything you’ll ever comprehend. You have no first hand knowledge of anything that pertains to him.. Think about it. He knows, first hand what’s up, you don’t. Your information is ALL from someone else who heard smething or has some opinion you accept but have no way to check out cause you’re never going to get off work at the Burger King long enough to actually check things out. Even if you could the powers that be would tell you to get lost cause you don’t count. That being said, go ahead and say what you will. it doesn’t matter it’s just the ramblings of another frustrated taxpayer trying to look like they matter. Sorry if I offend you with the truth. None of you are on the inside you’re just rambling on with a bunch of hearsay posts about somehting someone else said. You just accept whar you choose with no way of knowing what the actual truth is. Blah, blah, blah. Hate me if you will but you know I’m right. Go ahead prove me wrong. Quote your quotes. I challenge any of you to come up with any first hand or inside information to back your points of view. You’re inside and right there pal in the CIA Serious Lee. I’m gone.

  • cheesechowmain

    “Rummie lives in a universe that is beyond anything you’ll ever comprehend. ”

    Strangely enough, I happen to live in a universe that is beyond anything Secretary Rumsfeld will ever comprehend. It’s held together by tiny velcro strands… just a warm-up for the String Theory show. In a many-worlds universe, I’m the Secretary of Defense in one of them and Ron Dumsfeld hangs out late at night hammering out useless ROS commentary….

  • cheesechowmain

    Oh I forgot to put the cherry on top of my last post rejoinder to serious lee:

    quod erat frickin’ demonstrandum

  • Potter

    The thread was not over after my felonious post or JonGarfunkel’s or Allison’s or Nikos, Sidewalker’s or Nother’s , CCM, WD, etc.

    I at least learned about Godwin’s Law ( and Adorno Horkeimer) and much else has been said to embellish my point and several other very worthwhile points and comments have been made some with indirect reference to “that period in history�. The case can be made that this mild sentence tagged onto my post as an endthought woke some folks up here. Not that I had this in mind.

    My first reaction to being informed of the law was: I don’t obey any such laws! Then I realized (duh) this was meant as the “law of gravity�: it exists. But the part of the law that said the conversation is over was wrong in this instance. So:

    Potter’s Two Objections to Godwin’s Law:

    1) This period of history is far too important to exclude from conversation. (Should we all be proscribed from using this example in history because it is misused?)

    2) Are we grown-up enough (here at least) to be able to call each other on a misuse ( if it is felt that there is one) in a gentle way?

    JonGarfunkel’s string of negative adjectives pour moi seemed to follow the law more than my “error�.

    Nikos understands why McNamara was not a good choice for me or Watergate ( as I explained above). Garfunkel did not care about my essential point, only that I used “Nazi�.

    As NIkos says, in suggesting these or other alternatives to make a point one asks for a pervasive and recognizable knowledge of history on both sides of the communication in order to choose the perfect other example. There is one right at hand that does very well. The problem is that this is such a good example that it is overused and abused. So that though I really can’t remember when I used it last, when I needed it caused a stir of sorts.

    Nikos takes my allusion to Germany one step further with his mention of Albert Speer which I did not think of specifically. He completes the thought (I was thinking more generally): Many otherwise seemingly decent/charming/engaging people suspended their morality for an ideology.

    Sidewalker thanks for the reference/pointer to Adorno and Horkheimer ( more at Wiki on this) Looks interesting.

    Peggysue: Regarding Rumsfeld, the Sexy/Mysterious. I can see it. I think GWBush seems that way to some women too. Clinton has it. I think it has something to do with embodying power.

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum

  • NIkos made reference to Fascist Italy, Fascist Germany and Napoleonic France and the top bureaucratic aids. I think it is important to avoid focusing on just a few key figures, which is why I mentioned Dialectic of Enlightenment.

    When all the Iraq occupation and regime change comparisons with post-war Japan were being made, John Dower, a noted Japanese scholar, in 2003 wrote in the Boston Review about the “Terrible Ironies”, how technical and technocratic reason aligned with madness in Fascist Japan. In the quote below he is echoing Adorno and Horkheimer

    Why ‘terrifying’? First, much recent scholarship suggests that it was the modern rather than ‘backward’ aspects of Japanese society and culture that enabled a hawkish leadership to mobilize the country for all-out war. Modern mass communications enabled politicians and ideologues to whip up war sentiment and castigate those who criticized the move to war as traitors. Modern concerns about external markets and resources drove Japan into Manchuria, China, and Southeast Asia. Modern weaponry carried its own technological imperatives. Top-level planners advanced up-to-date theories about mobilizing the entire resources of the country (and surrounding areas) for ‘total war’. Sophisticated phrasemakers pumped out propaganda about defending the homeland and promoting ‘coexistence and co-prosperity’ throughout Asia. Cultures of violence, cultures of militarism, cultures of unquestioning obedience to supreme authority in the face of national crisis – all of this was nurtured by sophisticated organs of propaganda and control. And, in retrospect, none of this seems peculiarly dated or peculiarly ‘Japanese’ today.

    The other aspect that is so terrifying to contemplate is that virtually every step of the way, the Japanese leaders who concluded that military solutions had become unavoidable were very smart and very proud of their technical expertise, their special knowledge, their unsentimental ‘realism’ in a threatening world. Many of these planners were, in our own phrase, ‘the best and the brightest’. We have detailed records of their deliberations and planning papers, and most are couched in highly rational terms. Each new escalation, each new extension of the empire, was deemed essential to the national interest. And even in retrospect, it is difficult to say at what point this so-called realism crossed the border into madness. But it was, in the end, madness.

  • Potter

    Sidewalker: Excellent! Thanks for the link.

  • loki

    I want to apoligize for my earlier quip remarks. Yes, Osama did extensive damage to Pentagon and yes he must be pursued. What Rumsfeld,Cheney et al have done has to dimantle the “Powell Doctine.” Colin Powell and his fellow army officers,veternad’s of Viet Nam, rebuilt an Army that was demoralized and spent.

    No doubt History, will reporet that Gulf War I(by Bush 41) and Gulf War II(by Bush 43) were bogus and contributed to global insecurity and class of cultures.

    They did not achieve their intended purpose of keeping the world safe for oil and security in the Middle East(though Bush 41 almost did so.)Also, Rumsfeld,Cheney and Bush have not found Osama. The world is now more divided and we mispent any compassion or sympathy that we deserves because of the horor of 911. Again, I apologize to the men and women who have worked in the Pentagon.

  • Potter: “Regarding Rumsfeld, the Sexy/Mysterious. I can see it. I think GWBush seems that way to some women too. Clinton has it. I think it has something to do with embodying power.”

    Gosh Potter now you’re really giving me the creeps but I guess people in positions of power do attract groupies. Rumsfeld is just so way beyond creepy (to me). But then I could see having a crush on…… hm…..well….mmm……. OK, Thomas Jefferson. (I had to go back pretty far to think of a sexy/mysterious politician)

  • Potter

    How can you have a crush on Thomas Jefferson? Is he that real to you?

  • cheesechowmain

    I saw Hilary Clinton speak at UCSC many years ago. I’ve been smitten ever since. I’d love to see her wearing a vinyl, skin tight, order me to bake cookies in the kitchen, helping me massage the dough with a whip handle. I’d just explode into a puddle of unbridled emotion… hmmmm, this is probably not relevant to anyone but my therapist. Nevermind. Better get back to thinking about Godwin and Saddam as Hitler or whatever we’re supposed to be opining about.

  • Sure. I believe Thomas Jefferson might indeed lead me down the garden path…

    “I am but a son of nature, loving what I see & feel, without being able to give a reason, nor caring much whether there be one. At Heidelberg I wished for you too. In fact I led you by the hand thro’ the whole garden.â€?

    Thomas Jefferson to Maria Cosway

  • Thomas Jefferson is probably as real to me as Hillary is to Cheesechow. Maybe I should make an appointment with my therepist?

  • cheesechowmain

    You can get a facsimile of T.J. every sunday night on KUOW2 web cast The Thomas Jefferson Hour. No therapy necessary.

  • Thanks CC.

  • Nikos

    Published on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 by the Progressive

    Rumsfeld Shouldn’t be Fired, He Should be Indicted

    by Matthew Rothschild

  • Nikos

    sidewalker: one of the problems with my cloudy-minded thinking lately (possibly due to a lowgrade allergy to a local seasonal pollen) is that in addition to churning out awful writing, I forget half my points before finishing. Sooo…

    As far as our conversation here — — goes:

    I think it’s vital to assert our patriotism as dissenters.

    My first loyalty is not to the constitution, but to the People whose will is invoked in the current constitution’s first three words.

    The People are the country, not the DoD or military, and not — anymore — the Congress or the Executive. Congress and Executive haven’t honestly represented any but the wealthiest top percent of the People for a very long time now.

    It’s time to dissent. Time to call for sweeping changes. Time to agitate for a new constitution. A constitution that represents the will of We the People of the 21st century, not those long dead people of the 18th.

    It’s our patriotic duty.

  • nother

    Yes Winston your right, I never stepped foot on the sand of Iraq, I spent 7 months all around it during the war but we never docked there. You win.

    “I guess that you are one that would argue that Kerry joined the Navy to “fight� in Vietnam?�

    No Winston, I would argue that Kerry joined to serve his country and defend his country. That statement says it all Winston. You only respect fighting. You’re a bully. Did you ever pay for your lunch in high school?

    I find it curious that you continued to blog on this site after calling the host a coward, (something you would never be man enough to say to his face) and disparaging one of the main bloggers, Nikos. If you don’t respect us, why do you blog here? Maybe it’s to lay the truth on us, maybe your some kind of missionary or something. Well if that’s the case, praise be God for Winston Dodson, he bringeth the truth.

    The dignified thing to do would be to apologize to the man who helped create the space that you disparaged him on.

    Conservative views on this site are refreshing and welcoming – mean spirited name calling is not.

  • Pete Crangle

    nother: “Yes Winston your right, I never stepped foot on the sand of Iraq, I spent 7 months all around it during the war but we never docked there. You win.”

    B-o-l-o-g-n-a. This stuff is a non-starter and unworthy of consideration. Unless you did something dishonorable, your service is above reproach and is not to be questioned by anyone. Anyone. This swiftboat caca is another last refuge. You needn’t defend against it. Anybody with a three pound universe inside their cranial cavity will recognize the person behind such tenor. These attacks are non-starters.

  • Nikos

    Pete: I recognize your gourmand’s style, but…how did you get to be both Pete and Oliver’s Parrot? 🙂

  • OliverCranglesParrot

    Nikos, I’m monkeying around with my profile. There’s great pics out there of Parrots BTW. If I didn’t have kitties, I’d love to have a parrot. Like kitties and pups, they would be another reminder of my humble standing in the wheel of life.

    — Pete Crangle (with a bonobo heart)

  • Nother – I spent 3 weeks ashore commanding my section of helicopters. In one medivac, the day that Iraq surrendered, I moved ~ 30 Kuwati civilians out to medical facilities on the Navy ships that you were on. Among those were children whose right hands had been hacked off by the retreating Iraq soldiers. I spoke with one women whose right hand had aslo been hacked off. She was a college proffessor and when the soldiers entered her house to loot it, they saw that she had children’s furniture in her house and asked where her children were. When she wouldn’t say they chopped her hand off instead. These were only the amputtees that were having infections etc. The ohters were taken care of on facilties on shore.

    The reason why the Iraq soldiers chopped off the right hands of children is that acoording to Islamic purity rituals, your rleft hand is for doing “unclean acts” like wiping yourself in bath room. So, you cannot touch a copy of the Quran with your left hand etc. You also have to be able to ritually wash your hands prior to entering a Masque and it is not possible properly do so without having your right hand. It is thought that going thru life with no right hand is the worst disgrace and is worse than dying.

    Your nutty link to big oil conspsiracy theories then irrational ramblings re: Saddam being overthrown show why many are destined to not ever participate in any thing that really matters.

    When you go to the dentist there are normally 2 other people there – the dentisit and his assitant. The assistant can say that they “were there when the tooth was filled” but the dentists did the work. This isn’t degrading the team work and service that the assistant provides but it does put your claim to have been in the first Gulf War in perspective.

    As long as people waste their time on nutty ideas the most that they can do is watch others do the real work. I am sure that almost any dental assitant could, if they want, focus and study enough to get through dental school but if not, they only get to help when the dentist works.

    You served honarably as did many but you can’t claim more credit than your participation deserves.

    And, it isn’t critsizing someones service by pointing out what that service really was. Kerry didn’t join the Navy to “fight” in Vietnam just like you didn’t join the Navy in hopes of giing ashore somewhere in the world, like the Gulf.

    The problem is that poeple who served like you want to claim the right to speak for people who served like me. I will state the fact and make the conclusion once again. Well over 50% of those currently serving in Iraq have joined / enlisted or re-enlisted since the war started. That means that everyone of them think that you and your opinions are crap. Simple. That’s ~ 75k poeple who know much more about what is happening there than you, I, Nikos or even, gosh I can’t beleive that I am saying this, Chris.

    Here is an example of a story from soemone in Iraq who has seen the horrors that Nikos speaks of and the photos that Chris links to and I am sure that he would agree that the way the you and Nikos frame the arguements and the way the Chris reflexively uses terms like “blunder and death” and links to photos that only show back up his obvious bias – is moral cowardess.

    Taking the easy way out and not discussing reality is cowardess. The reality is that most people on this site, including Chris, have no alternative to the current situation.

    Dispatch from Iraq: A tiny bit of comfort

    On this particular day one of the locals had his little girl with him. She was shyly watching me from behind his legs. When I smiled and waved at her, she brazenly ran up to me with a big smile and held out her arms, expecting to be picked up. At first I was shocked at her sudden bravery, and it took me a second to reach down and pick her up. When I did, she immediately kissed me on my cheek and then nestled in as if she meant to stay a while.

    I looked toward her father and he immediately began talking rapidly in Arabic and gesturing at me. Our translator quickly explained that he, the father, had been locked in a prison for most of the child’s life. He had been sentenced to death for being a Shiite dissident traitor. The man went on to say that soldiers wearing the same patch on the shoulder as I was (the 101st Airborne Division) had freed him shortly after we began the liberation of Iraq. His daughter from then on believed that the famous Screaming Eagle patch of the 101st meant that we were angels sent to protect her family.

    I sat in a little folding chair with that girl in my arms for well over 30 minutes. She trusted me so completely that she had fallen asleep with her head on my shoulder. All of my fears and worries faded as I held that little miracle. It had been so long since I had held my own daughter that this episode was even more healing for me than it was for her.

    I have often wondered if, on that day when I missed my family so much, it wasn’t a coincidence that she found me, of all soldiers. Maybe it was that innocent girl, and not me, that was the angel sent by God.

    P.S. – Nother, I forget to add re: the realities of the economics of oil and the war. It’s funny to watch you and people like you having to do your mental gymnastics and twist facts like pretzels in order to find theories where the current situations favor Bush when a former Foriegn Minister of France is going to jail for taking bribes from Saddam in the UN Oil for Food scandal.

    The real world is really much more straight forward and simple than many wish it to be.

    Good luck bottom feeding with your ideas and arguements while you wathch others make a differnce. Hey, “they also serve who only stand and wait”?

    Just like in the Gulf War, people who are not distracted by such garbage will be waiving to you from the shore as we participate.

  • And then there is this open letter from an Iraqi, ( who at first truly welcomed those brave fighting men like WD, who came to liberate their country from that puppet turned madman, Saddam, and bring the pure freedom that Americans so enjoy: to shop at Wal-mart, eat nutritious Big Macs and sell their labour to the lowest bidder.

    There really is more than one side to this conflict. You just can’t know it if the messenger is usually looking through his night vision goggles with his nervous finger on the trigger.

  • sidewalker – you write “messenger is usually looking through his night vision goggles with his nervous finger on the trigger.”

    There is a big difference between you and the “messenger” he is there and you, like I wrote above, might be one of the lard asses, back here, welcome to his opinions.

    I think I also wrote “they also serve, who only stand and . . .” what? write link.

    You , and people like you, can cynically make remarks all you wish but even the US service person who drops and bombs that unintentionally takes an Iraqi child’s arm off (as Nikos likes to point out) or a grunt who get nervous and shoots someone who isn’t really threatening him has done something that you have never dome and will never do. And that is purposefully risk their live to make a difference.

    And, I think that was your post above that tried to imply that it is because the service person ahd no other choice yet you portray the US as a place where everyone “Shops and Walmart and eats at McDonalds”. Well, which is it? A place where you are forced to go fight for an oppressive govt because you have no other opportunities or a decadent place of easy living.

    You are right, there is more than one side to this conflict and you and Chris ignore them. US service people accidently kill those who are innocent while they are trying to either kill or disuade those who would kill those same people on purpose.

    And that is really the sad part. The death rate of US military people is not much greater than the death rate if they were back in the US. So they don’t have to be heroes in order to chose to serve there. But what they have to have is the moral courage to understand that the arguements made by many are simply wrong and make the choice to ignore them.

    Chris’ post with the link to the photos accomplised exactly what he intended. You and Nikos are but one of many examples of the proof.

  • And then, I love the comments above trying to argue that “commercial success” doesn’t coincide with truth. That must surely be the case since the WaPo just got a Pulitzer for a story that wasn’t true – Secret CIA Prisons in Europe.

    I was following an thread on month or so ago where Robin was trying to get more liberals blogging. She is right in that the MSM really needs help as they are crashing.

    Probe of CIA Efforts in Europe Falls Short of Proof

    A Swiss official reviewing allegations that the CIA ran covert prisons in Europe says the U.S. “outsourced” torture to other nations. But he finds no clear evidence of secret detention centers. Rob Watson of the BBC fills Steve Inskeep in on the scene in Strasbourg, Fance.

  • nother

    I feel sorrow for you Winston. Now hear me out, I know you think I’m being facetious. The more I read you thoughts, the more I realize how much you love this country, maybe not as much as you love your self, but I feel that you truly love this country. That’s why I feel sorry for you and the men and women who have been betrayed by these ideologues in Washington.

    I recently did a documentary on US Army Recruiting. I followed around a recruiter in Boston for three months. So I feel that I’m qualified to respond to the following thing you wrote:

    Well over 50% of those currently serving in Iraq have joined / enlisted or re-enlisted since the war started. That means that every one of them think that you and your opinions are crap. Simple. That’s ~ 75k poeple who know much more about what is happening there than you, I, Nikos or even, gosh I can’t believe that I am saying this, Chris.”

    The saddest thing is Winston, these 17 and 18 year old boys and girls do not know more about what is happening than we do. They do not think my opinion is crap because they can’t even process my opinion yet. I went into homes in Roxbury and Dorchester (low income cities) with this recruiter and watched him apply his professional sales techniques to these kids. They look for low income kids who cannot afford or even consider college. I went to Roxbury high school with him; I walked the streets with him. I’m not being sarcastic about the sales part, in the meetings I filmed; the sergeant spends the whole time with “sales” training to the recruiters. I could go on and on, but don’t give me this crap about these people knowing more then us, these people are our children that are being betrayed by our government – For a war of choice!

    Now if I’m the dental assistant in your analogy above, I guess that makes you the dentist right? Well tell me, what does that make men like Tom Hudner, real heroes, not ones that spent three weeks flying an air taxi. Winston, you and I both know that dirty little secret in the military, only the worst pilots from flight school become helicopter pilots. Is that why you’re so resentful Winston, because you were relegated to flying a helicopter, while the jet pilots were meeting all the women?

    That’s a great story about how you held that little girl for a half an hour because seeing the patch on your shoulder, she thought you were a hero – an “angel.” Do you think that surprises me that you took hero credit for something some other guys did? You are not a hero Winston, get it through you friggin head. Your a wayward narcissistic soul with an expensive upbringing perpetually trying to prove your manhood to you father and forever skewed by the overly lavish praise put upon you by your mother. Then again, I could be wrong; you might just be a jerk.

  • Winston, I have been agonizing over pictures like those Chris linked to since the beginning. You may have been easily led my your masters and their rhetoric to pack the body armor and weapons and go off to distant lands at their bidding, so that they may continue to live a life of ease and mock the very system you wrongly believe you protecting, but I simply have a code of moral conduct that doesn’t rely on preachers of any persuasion.

    You think it is gallant or heroic and requires moral courage to risk your life and to take others’ lives. So you elevate your own status by knocking someone like nother because he was not in the heat of battle and you disparage lard-asses like me because I sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that brave men like you provide, and then questions the manner in which you provide it. I know, you would rather I just said thank you, and went on my way, Otherwise, I should pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Well, you are right. I mean you are right if you thought those last few sentences were borrowed from a cheap movie (though Jack Nicholson does a better tough guy than you). I just couldn’t help using them because so much of what you say seems to be a remake of a Hollywood war flick showing at an old movie theatre from a bygone era.

    You know, what takes real moral courage is to try and live a semblance of a life and to keep ones family safe in the chaos that the US army has created in Iraq.

  • Potter

    Winston’s story about holding the little girl was credited with a link. Winston did not take credit for it.

    There is a lot of emotion in these posts and this is what war does. It traumatizes everyone including those of use who sit at home. We get a glimpse and a glimmer ( as with the pictures that Chris pointed to) and all this buried stuff flows out. Winston I think you are telling yourself a story that you wish were true. We may in fact be doing a lot of harm to ourselves and to the Iraqi people. We do not know what we have set in motion. I think we all hope that it comes out right. That is not certain. And that is not to say that Saddam was good and nothing at all should have been done. But how many kids went over there, as Nother indicates, because they were told that they were needed to protect this country from another 9/11? How many are still being told that? Nother does not say what the hard sell to these kids is, but I can imagine just from hearing the interviews of the parents of the dead soldiers. Even the parents believe in this patriotism story. Signing up can seem a win win after you buy that pitch that gives instant meaning to your life, respect of your loved ones and all sorts of perks ( if you survive). Do they understand the twisting & damage that it appears ALL soldiers psyche’s suffer from the dehumanization and killing, maiming of others? from being victims themselves of same?

    In a war such as this one, that more and more people are coming around to believe was not necessary in the first place (there were alternatives) and that has opened up a box of things we cannot control, how does a soldier who comes home deal? What stories/narrative does he tell/console/defend himself with ?

  • Nikos

    “(The ideal ruler is) one who is just, kind, human, and easily moved to pity…devising means of protection for the weaker and simpler citizens, and for the poor against those who are strong, dishonest, wicked, and so elated by their wealth that they violate and contemn justice.�

    — Julian ‘The Apostate’, Emperor of Rome 361 – 363 C.E.


    Does the current American ruling cabal, led by their putatively ‘Christian’ El Presidente, perhaps have a thing or two to learn from a long dead Roman pagan?

  • Sarge

    Howdy everybody. I’m gonna wade in on this on. I did my 30 years and I did it all as a non-com. I know a lot of you out there are gonna tell me that things have changed since I got out and you’re right. One thing that hasn’t changed is kids are kids and not one 18-20 year old kid is ready for what he’s gotten himself into when he joins up, it takes time. My job was to put a boot where it was needed and get them moving. Any lifer I ever met knew that politicians who knew nothing about the realities of war run the show. As long as it’s that way you’ll have long costly and mismanaged wars. No one ever came up to me and asked me how I thought things should be but I did my job the best I could. That’s just the way things are and will continue to be. My granddad, dad and me fought in everywar there’s been up until this last one. I don’t have any kids and I’m glad.

  • Winston_new

    Sidewalker, your willfull ignorance of the state of the Iraqi people prewar, is evidence of your inability to deal with reality when it is inc conflict with your comfortable little world. Once again, you and poeple likes yours views have no alternative to the realities of the world but to crawl under a blanket of worn out old paleo-liberal jibberish. And, just like in most cases, your theories about why people join the military are simply stupid. I joined because, just like in my current job, I like to make a difference. I despise mealy mouth, philosophizing do nothings.

    And Potter, your statement “Do they understand the twisting & damage that it appears ALL soldiers psyche’s suffer from the dehumanization and killing, maiming of others? from being victims themselves of same?” Is simply stupid. What “damage and twisting”. I think what is “dehumanizing” is the total ignorance that you show or reality. You think that because someone is exposed to the way the world works outside of the little protected bubble that YOU live in they are somehow negatively affected. I think that is is the other way around. Potter, I’ve glot a clue for you. You stated above “if you survive” in regards to military experience – even with the deaths in the war the possibilty of death while in hte US military is not signifcantly greater than if you are walking the streets of the US. Is it dangerous? Sure, and that desearves recognition but it is overstating the case when you want to use it to show some dire effects on the minds of people serving in the US Military.

    And then there is Nother. I dearly love the fact that you are not even capable of seeing that a quote is from a link and not mine. But what is really telling about this is that you assume this because you, and most all readers on this site are unaware that there are THOUSANDS of these same stories out there from soldiers in Iraq. But I woulnd’t expect such an “inoformed” source like Nother to be aware of this. I would expect Chis to be though but when hang with only the “New Yorker Mag” crowd I guess that you dont.

    And Nother, I am a jerk. I’ve been told that my entire life but mostly by people like you who I really enjoy making poeple like you freak out by showing them how idiotic they are. What is the saying “Those who can do, and those who can’t critisize”. Of course, there is a scale, a spectrum of doing and what I love about your remarks is that is shows that you are very low down on that scale. Yes, just as in all things, there were piltos better than I and worse. There were people who saw more combat that and and there are people that saw less – you for instance. But what is really funny is that people like you never seem to be able to to understand where they fit on that scale yet talk as if they are somewhere on it that they are not. Your knowledge of military and life there is only informed by what you saw, just like me. That is what I write of yet you think that you can commnet on mine. I am VERY comfotable is commenting on where you use your experince to talk aobut things you know nothing of. I am not a hero but I do have much more experience than you do in these situations.

    Then, your experience with recruiting. You seem very comfortable picking atypical ancedotal situations to do flims about. Please show us your analytical prowess by finding the data on what % of US recruits are recruited from these socio-economic groups. But, of course, like in other questions I have asked I know the answer and I just want to you skirm while everyone knows that you simply pick points to back up your own SMALL minded point of view. As far as having opinsions re: the war, a few points. All recruiters in miltiary will be Iraqi war vets by the end of this year. Why? It is because the military has found that they can speak most directly to the potentila recruitees questions regarding serving there. Also, the retention / re-enlistment rate for people that have served in Iraq is at an historic high. So what does that do to your theory about being uninformed? Oh, I forgot Nother. It is all brain washing, salemanship etc. I think that the simpler answer is that you simply do not know what you are talking about here.

    Re: critisizing Chris for his remarks links here. If I am not mistaken this has something to do with “Open”? I think that Chris’ perspective is formed by his background and experience and his comments and links on this subject simply proves it. I have followed the show and from my point of view he shows that he can be unbiased and reasoned on many points but cannot on some. This show and this process is a great example of how the old structures of the MSM / Old Media are falling apart. In times past, opinion leaders like Chris would simply get a pass and the CW would simply reflect the sum total of his, and poeple in media that think like him. Now, it is easy to test his credibiliyt on subjects where, in the past, one couldn’t. I think that it is obvious that he has failed the test here.

    And this brings up a great place to point out what the current state of the world allows and is facilitating while also allowing me to talk to my background as raised above by Nother but I think that it should really strike fear into all the refelxive liberals and supporters of status quo MSM / media everywhere.

    I am very “average” – I grew up in many average US cities (parents moved some) but mostly in TX city that “big daddy Bush” sited as the city the typifeid the average US city. I went to the average University there and went on the be a very average Marine Officer (and despite what Nother thinks he knows, in Marine Corps, many flight school student’s with “Jet Grades” pick helos because in the Marines, helos are more than “air taxis”). Since then I have had a very average civilain career.

    Now let me put average into perspective – During university I lived at home but paid for all of my school related expenses my self. I graduated with an Engineering Physics degree with a specialization in Electrical Engineering and had the hours for a minor in Philosophy is my school had allowed minor degrees. 300 students began in that program 3 got degrees. I began Marine OCS in the summer of my Sophmore year and when I graduated less that 30% of the people that started the program finished. Flight school, less than 50% who had flight contracts finished.

    While I was in Marines I “visited” over 19 countires where I had great experiences – I even have a story that I told one of the producers re: meeting Dan Rather in Somalia and personaly witnessing how he lied. In Okinawa I lived with a Japanese family becasue they were one of many families that voluntarliy house US officers because they want the experience and I did to. I still have regualr contacts with friends from UAE, Sigapore, Hong Kong Autralia and many other places that I visited while in service. While in, I earned a MS from USC. Just as an example of the experience and educatiion of the leaders that I was involved with – I ahd a CO that was a Columbia PhD, my roommate on one of the Navy ships, was a Navy pilot with a Harvard Bus School MBA, and I ahve had involvment with more than a few officers / senior officers that that same level of experience. In my 2 squadrons, more than 50% of the enlisted Marines had more than 1 year of college.

    Since leaving, I have effortlessly moved from 3 of the largest, most successful company’s in the world – from one of the US’s largest companies (where I was hired from military through a program that only took former, mid-level career military officers), then to one of Germany’s largest companies then back to US to one of the world’s largest (top 3 or 5 depends how you count) financial organizations. My current boss, is a graduate of West Point with a Harvard MBA, and I am moving to a position within the company where the senior executive (while not having any military experience) hires only executives with past military experience because of his past experience with success with poeple with those backgrounds.

    How does this all fit in? Sure, it makes me feel better to spout this in response to Nother but it should put many things in prespective:

    1) The members of the US military while, not as “educated or qualified” as many contributors to this site are, are much more so than the “average” US citizen. Irrespective of any singular place that MR Nother wants to bring up.

    2) Despite what people want to beleive, the military experience does very little harm. In fact, if you look at longitudinal studies, military experince is an easily identified success factor in US – longer than average life, healthier, better than everage income.

    3) From any credible data, the people with this exeperience (Post Vietnam), in large majorites, support the war, depsise the MSM and are working feavorishly in to get thier views out.

    So yes, I am average and no hero and there are 10’s of thousands like me. That is what should really concern Nother.

    Nikos – I know that his is too obvious for you to notice but (some) women are voting and going to school in Afghanistan now instead of getting thier heads chopped off for not wearing burkas. Is it perfect there, obviously not. But if even one more woman goes to school there because of Bush its one more than your philosophizing will ever help.

  • Nikos

    Winston: it’s understandable because you surely feel beseiged here, but you’re not paying attention. I’ve repeatedly stated that I supported the Afghanistan intervention, and largely because the Taliban are Crips-in-Imam-drag, and no authentic government.

    However, I do not conflate the Afghanistan intervention — which was provoked by 9/11 — with the Iraq invasion, which was a war of choice: an imperialist adventure, not a defensive response.

    I wished (vainly) that our current government-of-malfeasance had remained focused on Afghanistan instead of chasing fool’s-gold in Iraq. My dissent is decent and humanistic. not faith-based (in our government) and jingoistic.

    So, pal, saying that it’s ‘too obvious for (me) to notice’ is not only unnecessarily insulting, it’s also wrong — and hypocritical.

    You haven’t been paying attention.

  • Winston_new

    Nikos – all you have to remember is the word “1” but here is an example of many more . . . . Of course, Chris forgot to link to photos of things like this. But, if you visit the milblogs you’ll see hundreds of photos that you won’t normalle see.

    * In 2003, approximately 6.1 million children were enrolled in Iraq’s lower education system. Of these only about 2.96 million were expected to graduate from secondary school. Now, in 2006 nearly 25% of the Iraqi population either attends a school of, or is directly employed by, the Ministry of Education. With a 2006 budget of $1.9 million (up 66% from 2005), the ministry oversees more than 20,000 school sessions in over 14,731 school buildings, administrative offices, and educational facilities nationwide. The MoED provides the oversight and training needed to support 500,000 teachers in their work with 6.28-6.4 million K-12 students a 3-5% increase from 2003.

    * In 2003 there were 14,731 kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools, most of which suffered from years of neglect by the Saddam regime, an insurgency intent on intimidating teachers and students, and the damage caused by war. Over the last three years nearly 6,000 of those schools have been renovated or undergone some form of rehabilitation.

    * In 2003, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR) consisted of 22 universities, 46 institutes or colleges within the Community College system, 2 commissions and 2 research centers. Since 2003, MHESR has, in addition to continuous work on its facilities and infrastructure that had been largely destroyed by war and looting, has been able to install nearly a dozen new colleges within its university system.

    And, you don’t have to beleive that US govt or military because if you really wanted to know about this kind of stuff you could read blogs like this. But Chris’ CW is that it is a disaster!

  • Winston_new

    Nikos – What is hypocritical is inconsistent is claiming that, jsut because you don’t agree with the reasons to go to war in Iraq, you don’t think that the results are positive.

    NO credible arguement can be made that the VAST majority of Iraqis are better off. No difference than I Afghanistan except that there is MORE good happening in Iraq.

    In Iraq, just like Afhganistan, one more kidding going to school, one more person not killed by Saddam is one more than all of your complaints would ever have achieved. You could, of course, resort to some “Alternative History / Science Fiction” arguements made by Nother above but those aren’t seriously discussed by anyone. Before the war, North Korea hasda much higher chance of imploding before the war than Iraq ever did.

    So, I am paying attention.

    If you want to pretend that Saddam would have collapsed I guess that you could but it flys in the face of facts.

    I would suggest that you read the latest reports from Pentagon where over 300 former Iraqi Generals were debriefed after the war. All of Saddam’s generals thought, until a few weeks before the war, that Saddam had WMDs. Not only does it put to rest the entire “Bush lied and mislead” it shows that Saddam was there for the long haul becasue no one would threaten him if they thought that he had WMDs. And there is NO DOUBT that he wanted everyone to to think that he night have them.

    “This behavior by Iraq’s regime was completely rational. Hussein’s calculated cultivation of WMD ambiguity is a tactic torn directly from the tough-minded Cold War game-theory scenarios of nuclear deterrence. Brilliantly crafted by defense analysts such as former Harvard economist Thomas Schelling and the Rand Corp.’s Herman Kahn, this literature stresses the strategic importance of “signaling” — that is, the critical behaviors potential combatants choose to display to either clarify or obscure their ultimate intentions. For years, “strategic ambiguity” worked very well for Hussein. His WMD ambiguity enhanced his survivability.

    In fact, WMD ambiguity was at the core of Iraq’s strategy. Why? Because if it ever became unambiguously clear that Iraq had major initiatives underway in nuclear or bio-weapons, America, Israel and even Europe might intervene militarily. If, however, it ever became obvious that Iraq lacked the unconventional weaponry essential to inspiring fear and inflicting horrific damage, then the Kurds, Iranians and Saudis might lack appropriate respect for Hussein’s imperial ambitions. Ambiguity thus kept the West at bay while keeping Hussein’s neighbors and his people in line. A little rumor of anthrax or VX goes a long way.”

  • Winston_new

    Nikos – you said “My dissent is decent and humanistic.” What is decent and humanistic about Saddams regime? You claim this yet have no alternative to his prewar existence. And yes, people could go on with the misdirection arguement like “What about N Korea and Mugabe and Darfur etc” well last I looked, we are doing everything short of war to end their influences as well.

    But in any case, I don’t undertand the arguement that what is happeing in Iraq is somehow immoral, undecent and unhumanistic.

    I can see that you could argue that they way that it is being attempted is “not moral, decent or humanistic enough” because of not enough resources, poor planning etc but that arguement is even being made by supporters of the war.

    So, I just chalk it up to a form of “Bush hatred” just like the people who reflexivley opposed Slick Willy’s Balkan war because it was his war. I think that the outcome of that war was undeniably good but in the process we reenforced the Europeans beleif that they do not need a miltiary by doing it all for them. They got what they wanted by having us fight the war and then move off (slowly – about 6 times mroe slowly than Pres Clinton promised when he went in – imagine that hugh) to let them administer the almost disasterous peace.

  • Nikos

    Winston wrote: ‘Nikos – you said “My dissent is decent and humanistic.â€? What is decent and humanistic about Saddams regime?’

    My reply: practically nothing.

    Fine, let’s get to to work then.

    There’s a country in the heart of the Muslim Middle East that:

    is ruled by a heartless authoritarian regime that —

    — imprisons and tortures dissenters,

    — systematically represses women,

    –cuts off people’s hands as punishment,

    — employs a terroristic secret police force,

    — and is home to thousands of Islamist Jihadis, some of whom are known have attacked the USA…

    — so, by your logic, Winston, we owe an invasion and regime change to its citizens and to ourselves…

    …however, its name is Saudi Arabia.

    Ain’t Dubya friends with some Saudi princes?

    S’okay, maybe the next Democrat President will do since Dubya won’t.

  • Winston_new

    Nikos – didn’t you see my prediction above that, once confronted with that facts that show that topling Saddam was a good thing, that many would then resort to the old tired “misdirection” argument and say “bit look over there, there are more bad men to go after”. And you did. If I am not mistaken, the US lists Saudi Arabia as a country needing big improvements each year in the Annual State Dept Report on Civil Rights. Here is but one example of the pressure that the US puts on Saudi Arabia.

    “There are also political challenges, in developing civil society and expanding citizen participation in government. Crown Prince Abdullah’s National Dialogue has been a notable development. It has opened more space to discuss issues. Curriculum development is another key area, to prepare young Saudis while understanding that modern life requires a certain understanding for others, promoting moderation and tolerance. The United States is seeking ways to increase scholarship and exchange programs for Saudi students and educators.

    As the President has recognized, “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe–because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty… it would be reckless to accept the status quo.”

    The President also noted in his State of the Union address that countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt can and should play a leadership role in the Middle East in promoting change and building healthy societies, societies that naturally marginalize and reject violent extremism.

    We have said what freedom means. The President has called them the “non-negotiable demands of human dignity.” They include:

    * freedom of speech with a vibrant free press;

    * a free economy to unleash the creativity of citizens and give them economic independence from the state;

    * an independent judiciary to guarantee rule of law and assure impartial justice;

    * religious tolerance;

    * respect for women; and

    * freedom of assembly, so citizens can press for reform and so that a peaceful opposition can provide choices.

  • Nikos

    Winston: Saudi Arabia was at least as deserving of regime change as Iraq, and for decades. You’re tailoring your argument to suit your concrete ideology. Unfortuantely for you, your beloved ideology is built atop a marsh. The marsh is called The Truth, and your ideology is sinking into it. Not fast enough to save innocent lives, but slowly and inevitably.

    Besides, according Julian the Apostate — government deserves regime change.

    And I like that dead ol’ pagan much better than any of your lionized Republican hypocrites.

  • Nikos – you speak of a truth yet you seem to try and make Bush somehow unique in his relationship with SA. From the link that I just posted above

    “Since King Abd al-Aziz and President Roosevelt met on the USS Quincy 60 years ago, the United States and Saudi Arabia have shared a close, and intensely personal, relationship. This continued through the decades”

    But, things seem to be changing there, lately.

    “Saudi Municipal elections took place in 2005 and some commentators saw this a first tentative step towards the intoduction of democratic processes in the Kingdom, including the legalisation of political parties. ”

  • Nikos

    ‘Nikos – you speak of a truth yet you seem to try and make Bush somehow unique in his relationship with SA. From the link that I just posted above

    “Since King Abd al-Aziz and President Roosevelt met on the USS Quincy 60 years ago, the United States and Saudi Arabia have shared a close, and intensely personal, relationship. This continued through the decadesâ€?’

    Yup, I will not argue (and don’t want to)

    However: then why did we invade Iraq?


    Come on.

    Your argument is duplicitous at best, Winston.

    What’s good for the goose (Saddam) is good for the gander (The House of Saud, and the American Republic, too).

    Both Riyahd and Washington DC are as worthy of hosting ‘liberating’ foreign troops as Baghdad.

    And the USA is a whole lot bigger threat to the world than lame assed Saddam ever was.

    Gotta run. Thanks for the exchange, though! Made for a fun morning!

  • Winston, you are starting to really scare me. You self-aggrandizement is reaching titanic proportions. I guess all that name-dropping is to legitimize your claims to moral superiority. I can now really see the grand mission you and your fellow intellects at the marines are on. Yes, you’ll bring peace and prosperity to the world, just there is this little problem that you first have to dispose of those corrupt regimes you helped put in place and then didn’t do your bidding. Also, you have to create the chaos necessary for the locals to accept your way of life. A little torture here, a little propaganda there, a little bit of collateral damage along the way and all those hearts and minds will come around to your way of thinking. One day, they too will enjoy all of the enriching TV commercials and talking heads on that little screen and will happily line up at Wal-mart stores to buy themselves out of a job. Wow, must have taken a lot of deep thinking by all those degree holders to come up with such a plan. You great doer of deeds. You great missionary man. I just wonder when you’ll finally get that sinking feeling. Or are you the big brain that goes down with the ship when even mice know when to get off?

  • Winston, are you this kind of average guy that Lou Reed sings about?

    Average Guy (Lou Reed)

    I ain’t no Christian or no born again saint

    I ain’t no cowboy or Marxist D.A.

    I ain’t no criminal or Reverend Cripple from the right

    I am just your average guy, trying to do what’s right

    I’m just your average guy, an average guy

    I am just an average guy, I’m just your average guy

    Average guy, I’m just your average guy

    I’m average looking and I’m average inside

    I’m an average lover and I live in an average place

    You wouldn’t know me if you met me face to face

    I’m just your average guy, average guy

    Average guy, I’m just an average guy

    I worry about money and taxes and such

    I worry that my liver’s big and it hurts to the touch

    I worry about my health and bowels

    And the crime waves in the street

    I’m really just your average guy

    Trying to stand on his own two feet

    I’m just your average guy, I’m just your average guy

    I’m just your average guy, average guy

    Average looks, average taste, average height

    An average waist, average in everything I do

    My temperature is 98.2

    I’m just your average guy, an average guy, average guy

    I’m just an average guy, average guy

    I’m just your average guy , average

  • Nikos

    Winston, I hope your ideology’s latest permutations don’t fantastically claim a role for Dubya and his ilk in this:

  • Winston_new

    I do a little research re: the democracy movement in Nepal but here is some on the recent Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. I’ll others decide who is claiming what”

    The leader of the Lebanese opposition, a sharp critic of Washington foreign policy, says he’s changed his view of the U.S. war in Iraq, seeing it now as a catalyst for democratic change across the Arab world.

    “It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world”

  • Winston_new

    Here is some info on Ukraine’s Orange Revolution

    “by Tatiana Silana

    It was really emotional: Bush smiling warmly and amicably at Yushchenko (and only once in a while at pretty Ukrainian journalists); Yushchenko’s spouse conversing at ease with Laura Bush; Russian journalists applauding violently; Rumsfeld looking very glad; Cheney wearing an orange tie; . . . ”

    “Not only members of the Ukrainian delegation, but also the U.S. and European press called the visit Yushchenko’s and Ukraine’s triumph.”

    “The Orange Revolution does not only belong to Ukraine. To many nations, it is an inspiring example of how to defend civil rights and win without any violence. The Ukrainian revolution was really unique, ”

    “This fact is extremely important for the United States. Condoleezza Rice and Richard Cheney said once that “the USA won the cold war on an ideological basisâ€?. The victorious Ukrainian revolution has set a new example that the United States means to use in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries with early signs of nascent democracy. The USA regards Ukraine as a potential regional leader, capable of facilitating security and promoting democratic values in the region. Therefore, if Ukraine succeeds, it will not be only Ukraine’s success. ”

    “The joint declaration signed by Yushchenko and Bush contains the following paragraph: “We undertake to cooperate in supporting reforms, democracy, tolerance, and respect for all communities, as well as in peacefully resolving the conflicts in Georgia and Moldova, and to support the advancement of freedom in such countries as Belarus and Cuba.â€?

  • Winston_new

    “Time and again, the US officials including President George Bush, have been stating the twin concerns they have regarding Nepal – the rise of terrorism and fall of democracy. The succinct remarks President Bush made in New Delhi in early march underlines the basis of the American policy towards Nepal . “On Nepal , we agreed that the Maoists should abandon violence and that the King should reach out to political parties to restore democratic institutions,â€? Bush said in a joint press conference accompanied by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in Hyderabad House, New Delhi .

    Following Bush statement, Camp arrived in Kathmandu to relay the message to Nepalese domestic political actors including the parties and the King.

    “The United States ’ primary objectives in Nepal are the restoration of multi-party democracy and the prevention of a Maoist takeover. We believe that reconciliation between the King and the political parties, and a return to democracy is the only path toward an effective counter-insurgency strategy and the restoration of security, government services, exercise of political rights, and respect for human rights,â€? Camp stated before the House Committee in Washington . ”

  • Sarge

    Winston, You are right and no one here is ever going to admit it, You have an intelligent point of view and they throw pies in response. Keep up the good work. We need you to balance out all the emoptional crap flying around here all the time.

  • Nikos


    huh…? wha…?

    Oh. Right.

    Sorry, I drifted off while reading the posts above. Something about…predictability…

    Here’s my reply:

    “You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.”

    How convenient!

    Whenever two events take place in a sequence, one can attribute the second event to the first.

    For example, Jerry Falwell attributed 9/11 to God’s hatred of Lesbianism.

    And all those revolutions Winston cites above are just as due to the White House being inhabited by the current cast of ideo-savants as global warming is due to the diminution of piracy and 9-11 is due to Lesbianism.

    This is called “Correlation implies causation” — — a subspecies of logical fallacy:

    “Recognizing fallacies in everyday arguments may be difficult since arguments are often embedded in rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical connections between statements. Informal fallacies may also exploit the emotions or intellectual or psychological weaknesses of the audience. Having the capability to recognize fallacies in arguments will hopefully reduce the likelihood of such an occurrence.”

    From Wikipedia’s Correlation implies causation:

    “Another example:

    Ice-cream sales are strongly (and robustly) correlated with crime rates.

    Therefore, ice-cream causes crime.

    “This argument, and any of this pattern, is an example of a false categorical syllogism. One observation about it is that the fallacy ignores the possibility that the correlation is coincidence. We can pick an example where the correlation is as statistically “robust” as we please, but we still cannot assume one factor causes the other.

    (You might also like to know that stepping on a sidewalk crack will break your mother’s back. Now, if I could just find a roadway whose concrete joints are responsible for Republican-leadership backs…)

  • Nikos

    Here’s one for Winston:

    Political situation in Iraq (4:30)

    Host Lisa Mullins speaks with Saad Jawad, professor of political science at the University of Baghdad, on the political situation in Iraq. Today Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld both paid surprise visits to Baghdad.”

    Click the speaker icon to hear the four and a half minute peice.

  • Nikos

    Here’s another radio link rich with non-ideologically pre-filtered food for thought for Winston:

    “10:00 — Disclosing Classified Information

    A longtime CIA officer was fired for undisclosed contacts with journalists. We discuss classified information, First Amendment rights and federal espionage laws.


    — Jeffrey Smith, rerporter, Washington Post

    — Jonathan Turley, professor, public interest law, George Washington University Law School

    — Anthony Lapham, attorney in private pratice, former general counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency”

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