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Neocons: send 50,000 more soldiers to Baghdad to save Bush's legacy

by Jerome a Paris Sun Nov 12th, 2006 at 04:56:39 PM EST

Robert Kagan and William Kristol get the red carpet treatment in tomorrow's Financial Times (Europe's main business paper), and get ot publish a lengthy op-ed piece (probably behind sub. wall) there suggesting that Iraq is still winnable, and basically acting as if the election this week had never taken place.

There are, of course, other grave issues that will consume the Bush administration over the next two years: the continuing need to defend Americans from terrorist threats; Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons; containment and weakening of a nuclear-armed North Korea; an increasingly belligerent Russia; and manifold challenges presented by a rising China. But the fact remains that Mr Bush (correctly, in our view) took the nation to war to remove Saddam Hussein, and the success or failure of that war will be central to his legacy.

While this should not come as a surprise coming from some of the most prominent neocons, the arrogance of that article is quitebreathtaking.

The trajectory is downward towards failure. Indeed, this has been the case for more than three years, ever since Pentagon officials decided to put far too few troops in Iraq to bring stability after Hussein's ousting.

Ah yes, it's Rumsfeld's fault. He waged the war incompetently, and did not send enough troops. What troops, you may ask? They have the answer:

Those who claim that (...) more troops do not exist to send to Iraq are wrong.

That's it. That's the extent of their argument. Their critics are wrong. Full stop. And they are basically saying that it's still not to late to change things:

President Bush could finally demand of his top advisers a strategy to succeed: provide the US force levels necessary to achieve even minimal political objectives. This could begin by increasing US troops in Iraq by at least 50,000 in order to clear and hold Baghdad without shifting troops from other parts of Iraq. These operations could then be expanded into areas of insurgency. This strategy would not stabilise the country right away but could secure Iraq's vital centre and provide real hope for progress.

and Americans agree with them, they say:

The Republican loss was largely due to lack of confidence that Mr Bush had a victory strategy for Iraq, not a belief that he was not exiting fast enough. If the president makes clear he has such a strategy, he will have the support to do what is necessary.

That's the only mention of the election in their article: a signal to send more troops. I know that for them, anything is a sign to wage more war, but this, again, is quite a stunning analysis to make.

In passing, they note that a US military presence will be required in Iraq in any case.

A peaceful, federated Iraq will, however, require no less of a commitment of US troops to provide security than a unitary one.

If not peaceful, to make it so; if peaceful, to keep it so. Hmm, with permanent military bases, maybe?

The only semi-interesting information in that whole article is their analysis that the Baker-Hamilton ISG effort is just a figleaf to organize the retreat from Iraq:

Now, many Americans are looking to the Iraq Study Group, the commission headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, for a face-saving, bipartisan way to withdraw from Iraq as quickly as possible.

So they spend a couple more paragraphs (which I'll spare you) to explain how unrealistic that is, and how impossible it is to acknowledge defeat like this when things are not really lost yet (Iraq is only "closer" to civil war right now, they tell us)

Again, this is not really surprising coming from these guys; what's really worrying is that they still seem to be able to get such easy access to major media outlets. To Europeans who will read this (the leading business/political class which reads the FT), the signal can only be that the USA is still a country that considers itself at war. In addition, the message that the elections last week were essentially irrelevant is being pushed across the board (we've been getting lots of "don't get your hopes up, Dems are just the same as Bush on international policy" articles recently here in Europe) and that the only way out is with more war, led by Bush.

It's been quite scary to see a number of things that took place in the US a few years ago happen in the same sequence here in Europe, despite the fact that we now know how things turned out. But no, we're told that a war footing is essential, and that terrorists threaten us ever more, and that dealing with Iraq is vital, and that Europe must act militarily, and that civil rights are a luxury in this century, and that, oh by the way, taxes must be cut.

And now we get the neocons behaving as if they - and the Bush administration - were not totally discredited, and acting as if the recent elections were a signal for more of their policies - and we get full media campaigns in that vein here in Europe. It's coming from the USA, so it must be good is the underlying theme - but of course only the worst extremist rightwing ideas seem to make it across the Atlantic. No wonder so many Europeans turn anti-American when that's all we hear.

Please, dear American friends, now that you are back in power, please take back these people - and put them in jail, maybe?

As usual, your support appreciated.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 12th, 2006 at 04:57:27 PM EST
But you see that the interest is in discussing the political implications and personalities involved not the policy positions implied by their thesis.

As long as you are willing to put up with every topic being seen from a political point of view, keep posting. (I, of course, put my policy spin on the issue.)

There used to be an old joke. Whatever the topic being discussed someone would ask: "yes, but is it good for the Jews?"

On dKos we can say instead "yes, but is it good for the Democrats?"

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 12th, 2006 at 06:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The site has its biases - and in fact they are quite explicit, and thus not surprising, but its sheer size still makes it a worthwhile platform, and you do get some pretty good discussions of the substance quite often.

So I still consider it a good place where to post - especially as 99% of the readers never comment, and a great number of them probably do not read the comments either.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 04:40:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you understand the dKos dynamics well enough, but I think you need to limit the chances for commentators to veer off into political pontificating and focus more on the policy issues you are trying to present.

This is just a matter of leaving out a few of the political hot button items so they have no jumping off point. For example mentioning anyone by name always causes a branch about personalities.

Now if you really want to get into political strategizing, dKos is the place to be. Whether all the spilled electrons of the site actually accomplish anything is an open question.

Since your expertize is energy policy I think this is where you have the most impact. Consider yourself a sort of tug boat slowly nudging the prow of the ocean liner of conventional wisdom into a new direction.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 10:03:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please, dear American friends, now that you are back in power, please take back these people - and put them in jail, maybe?

Kristol and Kagan belong in an asylum, not in Jail. After all, their only crime is to speak nonsense.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 12th, 2006 at 06:16:39 PM EST
We used to sterilize people like that. To protect the gene pool, like.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 03:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't 500,000 be more realistic? They truly can't seem to fathom the fact that this whole action was an incredible reach. It should never have happened at all
by kevinearllynch (mr_kevinlynch@sbcglobal.net) on Sun Nov 12th, 2006 at 09:17:55 PM EST
Indirectly, I heard of Kissinger's oped in Washington Post on N. [Nuclear] Korea and other global matters. Looks like usual subtle finger pointing to Europe, as if US could do nothing better. How these men still have exceptional credibilities?
by das monde on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 04:45:15 AM EST
Pity I can't thing of enough obscenities to express my feelings!  Since the US's master of the universe universal-shoot-'em-up complex is the problem, even more passive-masochistic European etc. acquiescence towards same can  hardly be presented as a solution? My fellow-sufferer sympathies to ignored, irrelevantized and extremely PO'd sacrificial victim South Korea.

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 07:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we've been getting lots of "don't get your hopes up, Dems are just the same as Bush on international policy" articles recently here in Europe

These don't come without explicit encouragement from National Security Democrats. Though obviously, it's European Atlanticists who are chiefly pushing the meme, Albright and others have for long chastised European leaders (especially the previous German government) on their domestic media forums for being "irresponsible" and such over Iraq.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 07:25:19 AM EST
James Baker's so-called study group is a trojan horse...he has one task: one of daddy's friends again stepping in to save junior from his self made mess. And the Democrats better not sign onto this...let this be Bush's mess to the end.

See Americablog's comment on this:


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 09:12:35 AM EST
Oh, and has anyone read this commentary from Steve Gilliard ? (ouch!!)

"One more time: I need my daddy!"

How pathetic is it that a 60 year old man needs his daddy to save his ass. It would be funny if we hadn't killed all those Iraqis in the process, and crippled 20k, and killed 2800 Americans.

When I said Bush had been a failure his entire life, people would argue the point. A blood-dimmed tide later, I think the point has been made. A sad little coward, who hid in his bible and his bottle, has, for the final time in his public life, had to be rescued by his father.

You think Bush has seemed off-kilter in public, you wait. He has suffered the ultimate humiliation, despite winning the presidency twice, he is a sad little loser, king of the cheetos-stained cowards, who fear a Muslim from every corner. His manhood has been disposed of like a used condom.

So, which one of his mommies will comfort him, after daddy has emasculated him one final time? Condi, Karen? My bet is Condi. Laura will be the whipping girl for this, and suffer his rage. When she realizes she could be rich for life, tabloid fodder will become frontpage news, and Laura Bush will leave her cowardly husband behind.

Like I said..ouch!!


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 09:40:02 AM EST
amazingly this piece of shit is in in "the Australian" today :-(.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 05:41:40 PM EST

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