September 21, 2004

Stupidity Is Not a Plan

The Bush strategy:

The Idiots In Control | Oliver Willis: Rumsfeld: "At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country."

Posted by DeLong at September 21, 2004 09:20 AM | TrackBack
Comments

I wonder how bad it has to get before Hackworth says something not nice about Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Alan at September 21, 2004 09:40 AM

See for yourself
http://www.hackworth.com/

I say he almost "shrillworthy"

Posted by: llamajockey at September 21, 2004 09:48 AM

See for yourself.
http://www.hackworth.com/

I say he is almost "shrillworthy"

Posted by: llamajockey at September 21, 2004 09:48 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/21/opinion/21krugman.html

The Last Deception
By PAUL KRUGMAN

It's Ayad Allawi week. President Bush, starting with his address at the U.N. today, will try to present Mr. Allawi - a former Baathist who the BBC reports was chosen as prime minister because he was "equally mistrusted by everyone" - as the leader of a sovereign nation on the path to democracy. If the media play along, Mr. Bush may be able to keep the Iraq disaster under wraps for a few more weeks.

It may well work. In June, when the United States formally transferred sovereignty to Mr. Allawi's government, the media acted as if this empty gesture marked the end of the war. Even though American casualties continued to rise, stories about Iraq dropped off the evening news and the front pages. This gave the public the impression that things were improving and helped Mr. Bush recover in the polls.

Now Mr. Bush hopes that by pretending that Mr. Allawi is a real leader of a real government, he can conceal the fact that he has led America into a major strategic defeat.

That's a stark statement, but it's a view shared by almost all independent military and intelligence experts. Put it this way: it's hard to identify any major urban areas outside Kurdistan where the U.S. and its allies exercise effective control. Insurgents operate freely, even in the heart of Baghdad, while coalition forces, however many battles they win, rule only whatever ground they happen to stand on. And efforts to put an Iraqi face on the occupation are self-defeating: as the example of Mr. Allawi shows, any leader who is too closely associated with America becomes tainted in the eyes of the Iraqi public.

Posted by: lise at September 21, 2004 10:01 AM

Hmm, y'know I swear i've heard that logic before...

devgirl
is not surprised that the Bush crew learned exactly -jack- from WWI and Vietnam; as a history major, our pres. is a complete and utter failure.

Posted by: devgirl at September 21, 2004 10:03 AM

Rummy must have based his conclusion on the evidence of how thoroughly well that approach has worked in Palestine/Israel.

Posted by: paulo at September 21, 2004 10:11 AM

This sounds a lot like Vietnam, eerily so. A strategy of attrition is not a strategy, it is the lack of a strategy. Ask Falkenhayn - attempting to bleed the French Army white at Verdun nearly worked, but also wrecked the German Army.

Posted by: bobcox at September 21, 2004 10:24 AM

"This sounds a lot like Vietnam."

Exactly like Vietnam.

Posted by: No Preference at September 21, 2004 10:31 AM

Falkenhayn is dead, so his answer may not amount to much.

But Robert Strange McNamara is still with us.
As I recall, the terms he used were "body count" and "kill ratio". Strategic bankruptcy thinly disguised in the cost-benefit jargon of a Ford Motor Co. executive.

In Rummy's case strategic bankruptcy isn't disguised at all. So who says there's no such thing as progress?

Posted by: Angry Blue Planet at September 21, 2004 10:32 AM

The lunatics have taken over the asylum...

Posted by: d_formed at September 21, 2004 10:43 AM

Yuppers, "Iraq == Vietnam on Crack" hypothesis wins another prediction.

There are of course two sides to the glib statement "They have to get tired of dying at some point". We can also become quite exhausted with sending our sons, daughters over to die in this pointless war. They used to called this problem a "war of attrition" and it's a very common one with insurgencies.

I await to hear the good news about our "kill ratios" any day now...

Posted by: Gryn at September 21, 2004 10:59 AM

"Reports that say 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."

Donald Rumsfeld

Well, one thing we all know that we know - this guy is a lunatic. I suspect that we're gonna run out of GIs before they run out of Iraqis (or any other jihadists who can get across the borders of Iraq).

Posted by: Uncle Jeffy at September 21, 2004 11:23 AM

**Rummy must have based his conclusion on the evidence of how thoroughly well that approach has worked in Palestine/Israel.**

Why not, it worked so well for hundreds of years between the British and the Irish, didn't it?

Posted by: Thumb at September 21, 2004 11:59 AM

There's a lot more in Rumsfeld's briefing,
(http://www.dod.mil/transcripts/2004/tr20040914-secdef1302.html)
each bit scarier than the last.

Short version:
(1) We have hordes - hordes - of Iraqi security forces just straining at the leash. When they get going ... well, I wouldn't want to be one of those insurgents, let me tell you.
(2) Allowing Fallujah, Ramadi and half of everything else to become sanctuaries for insurgents? Yep, we agree that it's a bad idea. Next question?
(3) Afghanistan?
(4) Once those big sillies get tired of us killing them, we can all be friends and go to the symphony.
(5) Seymour Hersh? Lies -- all lies!
(6) Cheer up! It's always darkest before the dawn!

I hope I didn't miss anything.

Posted by: jre at September 21, 2004 12:06 PM

It matters a whole lot whose land your are fighting over, when asking who will tire first of having their countrymen and women die. We are killing a lot more of them than they are of us, but we are standing on their land. There may be some (Wolfie, Feithie, Rummy) who think it is their land, but they aren't the ones sending family to kill and die.

Posted by: kharris at September 21, 2004 12:08 PM

Rummy is thinking of WWII where the 8 th airforce did daylight bombing of industrial targets and the British did nighttime firebombing of the cities and the Russians were killing every young German soldier that got sent to the front. Sure kill all the young men above age 11 and they will get tired. Same with Japan only it took two A bombs plus the firebombing to do the trick. Is that what we are going to do after the election?

Posted by: dibert dogbert at September 21, 2004 01:16 PM

http://www.juancole.com/

Bush Taunts Kerry

I just heard President Bush taunt John Kerry for suggesting that the US was not safer because Saddam Hussein was deposed, and for saying that the US was in fact less safe because of the chaos in Iraq.

Bush attempted to turn this statement around and suggest that Kerry was preferring dictatorship to democracy.

Iraq, however, does not have a democracy, and cannot possibly have a democracy any time soon because of events such as those described below (and they are only 24 hours' worth)-- that is, because of a failed state and a hot guerrilla war....

Posted by: lise at September 21, 2004 01:17 PM

This statement seems ludicrous to anyone with an understanding of what the word "nuance" means.

....however, in light of the audience to which this administration caters (and exploits), Rumsfeld's language is dead on.....it's all part of that "wry, tough, straight-shooter" theme that they've borrowed from all those movies that have historically fed the psyche of america's individualist wanna-be's.

Posted by: independent warlord at September 21, 2004 02:16 PM

I never liked Rumsfeld, but at least I had the impression that while he is not wise, he is in a way smart. His recent statements make him look rather just smarty-pants.

Posted by: cm at September 21, 2004 03:35 PM

"At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country"

Can anyone come up with a single example since the dawn of time of this strategy working?

""At some point the Russians will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the non-Slavic security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country"--Hitler

"At some point the Spanish will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of King Joseph's security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country"--Napoleon

"At some point the Romans will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Sammite security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country"--Hannibal

Posted by: rea at September 21, 2004 04:22 PM

When are these assholes going to let me get back to writing my own material?

Posted by: Michael Moore at September 21, 2004 07:13 PM

Rea writes: Can anyone come up with a single example since the dawn of time of this strategy working?

Sure.

Worked in the New World against the NorAm and SouAm Indians.

Worked in Europe when the Romans moved against the Celts.

Worked in Australia against the Aborigines.

Worked against the Zulus.


To name just a few.

Posted by: Steven Rogers at September 21, 2004 08:00 PM

There's an old saying that a rabbit tends to win races with a fox because the rabbit is running for his life, whereas the fox is running for his dinner.

The Iraqis are fighting for their country. The Americans are fighting for, well, who the hell knows why they're there anymore?

I suspect strongly the Americans will get tired of getting killed well before the Iraqis do. Especially if the Iraqis are able to bring the war back to the US mainland.

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans at September 21, 2004 08:54 PM

If you are tired of getting dead are you still alive?

Posted by: venky at September 21, 2004 10:21 PM

Micheal Moore.....right on!!!!!

Posted by: venky at September 21, 2004 10:25 PM

"Rea writes: Can anyone come up with a single example since the dawn of time of this strategy working?

"Sure."

Your examples are very interesting; you will note that they all involve genocide. Is that the cost of victory in Iraq? Is the key to victory killing or dispossessing all the natives and colonizing the country with American settlers?

Posted by: rea at September 22, 2004 05:43 AM

To back up rea's commenet on the following:

"Worked in Europe when the Romans moved against the Celts..."

Genocide is the correct term, but let's put some real numbers here. Caesar--by his own admission--killed (or had put to death) at least 1,000,000 Gauls. AT LEAST. At some point, the Romans, ever the meticulous bean counters, simply STOPPED counting. It wasn't worth their time after they could claim 1M.

It is sick, sad, and pathetic that we are well on our way to justifying destruction and death on that scale, especially now that the cold war is over. Well, at least perhaps we'll finally get to see what our tax dollars have purchased in the way of nuclear devices...

Posted by: Jason at September 22, 2004 06:09 AM

It DID work in Vietnam. In 1972, with only about 1/5 the American troops in country as in 1968, the South Vietnamese military defeated an offensive by the North of over 200,000 men.

With the help of American air power. It took John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, Clifford Case, Frank Church, et al throwing away that win, by passing legislation that disallowed similar help to the South in 1975, for us to "lose" the Vietnam War.

Those who refuse to learn from history, end up supporting a ridiculous idiot who's going down just as McGovern did in 1972.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan at September 22, 2004 08:46 AM

RoseFeeder, you're back!

Posted by: Barry at September 22, 2004 09:13 AM

We can always count on Patty O'Sullivan to chime in with some right-wing wackiness:

"Hey now, we were WINNING that there Vee-Et Nam until those lousy LIEBERALS came along and screwed everthing up."

Now tell us about how those commies are infiltrating and impurifying our precious bodily fluids. I just love that rant!

Posted by: Locutor at September 22, 2004 09:31 AM

"Those who refuse to learn from history, end up supporting a ridiculous idiot who's going down just as McGovern did in 1972."

Patrick, the ridiculous idiot is you.

Posted by: Steve at September 22, 2004 11:15 AM

Is Iraq really another Vietnam? It really seems that the similarities grow almost daily. If anyone visiting this site is not familiar with Neil Sheehan's "A Bright Shining Lie" they should find a copy and read it. It helped me to understand how we unerringly pave our road to hell with our good intentions.

Posted by: Steve at September 22, 2004 11:27 AM

Oh Patrick,

When are you going to admit to yourself that your anti-communist land war in Asia was a big mistake because it came up against the power of nationalism. Golly Gee, seems like we're making the same mistake in Iraq with Iraqi nationalism. When are you going to learn?

You silly old hawk dumbass. I am not letting you draft my kid to die for your delusions.

I want to share this with you. It is one of the most inciteful posts on the War I have seen and it comes from the mouth of a complete amature, a casual observer, a conservative patriotic observer.
http://www.exile.ru/2003-July-10/war_nerd.html

Posted by: Nemesis at September 22, 2004 01:06 PM

"It took John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, Clifford Case, Frank Church, et al throwing away that win, by passing legislation that disallowed similar help to the South in 1975"

It would be too tedious to recount everything wrong with this claim, but note that in 1975, John Kerry was in law school, not Congress.

Posted by: rea at September 22, 2004 01:13 PM

Patrick R. Sullivan writes: With the help of American air power. It took John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, Clifford Case, Frank Church, et al throwing away that win, by passing legislation that disallowed similar help to the South in 1975, for us to "lose" the Vietnam War.

It took Kissinger and Nixon, as well. They were the ones who negotiated a peace leaving large chunks of South Vietnam under the control of the North Vietnamese Army. "Decent Interval", and all that sort of thing.

The RVN leaders are on the record stating that in 1975 they were doomed without massive American intervention.

Posted by: Steven Rogers at September 22, 2004 03:35 PM

Rea,

Yes, I am well aware of the nature of the victories won in the examples I gave. I strongly suspect that similar parameters will define the struggle that begins in Iraq after the US leaves. Hell, maybe it will begin before the US leaves.

The Shia currently have more economic and military power relative to the Sunni than has been the case in Iraq for several centuries. The Sunni Resistance does not seem to notice or believe this, as yet. Or maybe they do, and are desperately trying to get a lap ahead on the type of good old fashioned ethnic-cleansing tribal war that I suspect is coming.

Posted by: Steven Rogers at September 22, 2004 03:41 PM