Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Democracy-Building for Dummies

Mark Kleiman boils it down.
Lies Versus Incompetence
...In reaction to John Murtha's call for a phased 6-month redeployment in Iraq, the President said "as long as I am commander in chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground."

Let's put aside for the moment the fact that this is a lie: the "sober judgment" of Gen. Eric Shinseki was that we needed more troops, and he was fired for his sobriety.

Instead, let's assume it's true: it still demonstrates manifest incompetence. Military commanders do not, and should not, determine our "strategy in Iraq" that job is for those who purport to be our political leaders. Iraq is a political problem: if our strategy is being driven solely by the military, it shows that we do not understand it.

A major reason why the Bush-Cheney strategy is so criminally incompetent is that it assumes that if we just blow up enough people, then we'll win. The job of creating a stable Iraq so far transcends that that it's little wonder we have been so unsuccessful. The Marines entered Baghdad, the statue came down, and we figured it was over. There was no political strategy following up because everything was entrusted to the military.

This also points to the wisdom of Murtha's saying that the military has done everything it could do: his point is that the military cannot be expected to solve a political problem. The Administration does not understand this.

Clearly, military necessities have to be an element in developing a coherent political strategy. But the political strategy drives the military, not vice-versa. It's too late to expect the President to read anything, but perhaps someone around him should take a look at this.

My only issue with Kleiman is his title for the piece: "Lies Versus Incompetence." Why choose, when Bush is offering both in abundance?

And as far as Bush's inane statement, I'm glad the "Commander in Chief" is happy to follow orders from the field. Or at least pretend he does and is satisfyed with it as an excuse. On the surface (which is as deep as his bullshit ever goes) this might sound like a good idea. "Bush is in touch with the commanders and THEY know what is needed, not some Congressman."

But this is fucking wrong. Generals and armies are designed, trained and deployed to fight wars and kill people. And they will keep right on doing it and requesting what they need to keep doing it, until a political solution arises to make their efforts unnecessary. But policy and diplomacy are for pussies, and you can't run a fear-based campaign strategy back home with that crap. Plus, it gets in the way of profiteering.

These assholes in the Administration are too busy divying up Iraq's oil fields and enriching their benefactors to bother with coming up with a political solution or even to ever have considered one before we went in. The Army did its job in two months. The fucking Administration has been avoiding theirs for two years.

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