Three Wise Men and an Idiot

Posted by: Zapata_

Three Wise Men and an Idiot - 07/01/05 03:17 PM

Another Kwiatkowski classic!<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>Three Wise Men and an Idiot<br><br>by Karen Kwiatkowski<br><br>I didn’t notice, but I’ve been told George W, Bush delivered his latest speech<br>smoothly, more so than most of his speeches. He has certainly practiced the<br>stay-the-course storyline.<br><br>How many times have we suffered White House fanfare for a presidential speech<br>that will finally solve the mystery of our foreign policy? How many times have<br>we listened, only to reluctantly conclude that George W. Bush is indeed a broken<br>record, and worse for wear?<br><br>George waved the bloody shirt at Fort Bragg, recalling 9-11 and global<br>terrorists. He again brought forth the well-used and amazingly stupid idea that<br>we will somehow take the war to the terrorists. And yes, he was talking about<br>Iraq.<br><br>Those of us living in the reality-based world must be ever so tiresome to our<br>nifty commander in chief.<br><br>In the real world, Mr. Bush, young Americans die, are maimed and morally<br>devastated by wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, both conducted without legal or<br>moral justification, and hence without hope. In the real world, Americans,<br>Iraqis and Afghans all suffer a conflict dreamed up by finely fed and<br>well-dressed neoconservatives in air-conditioned Washington suites.<br><br>At leisurely lunches and late night planning sessions they designed a boutique<br>war to be fought by tin soldiers. I imagine the work, and the finger food, was<br>positively delicious.<br><br>As he has since his 9-11 raison d'ętre, Bush emphasized this week that we shall<br>prevail by taking the war to the &q uot;terrorists." This must sound great<br>echoing off the peach and lavender rooms of the administration’s unreality-based<br>world.<br><br>On the other hand, many great thinkers on military affairs have extensively<br>studied the reality-based world, and thus might be helpful. Sun Tzu, for<br>example. The ancient strategist wrote, "The spot where we intend to fight must<br>not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible<br>attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in<br>many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be<br>proportionately few."<br><br>Transfixed by the light of their own brilliance reflecting from pastel-sheened<br>walls and bulletproof windows, the Bush administration hears him not.<br><br>Karl von Clausewitz wrote, "No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his<br>senses ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to<br>achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it."<br><br>Hear, hear! But it seems that the neoconservatives who long envisioned the<br>toppling of the Ba’ath Party, and the emplacement of an administration-friendly<br>Prime Minister in Baghdad as a Do-it-Yourself weekend project, were deafened<br>once again by their own self-congratulatory cheers.<br><br>Clausewitz, always trying to help innocent politicians, wryly noted, "In war the<br>will is directed at an animate object that reacts."<br><br>Sir Basil Liddell-Hart, in the mid-1900s, not so long ago, expanded upon<br>Clausewitz in this regard. The old Brit noted, "Natural hazards, however<br>formidable, are inherently less dangerous and less uncertain than fighting<br>hazards. All conditions are more calculable, all obstacles more surmountable<br>than those of human resistance."<br><br>As President, George W. Bush is a public example of a life spent failing to<br>learn from either his betters or his mistakes, refusing to develop empathy when<br>revenge felt better, and avoiding the hard work and self-doubt of personal<br>accountability. He vows to stay the course and exercise his will because without<br>that, he is left alone with his fears of inconsequentiality and too many<br>vengeful ghosts. It’s enough to drive a man to drink, to swear, to cry and<br>crumble.<br><br>The audience at Bragg was politically controlled and generally pro-Bush, yet the<br>only applause-based interruption of Bush’s speech was apparently the result of a<br>Bush aide’s signaling.<br><br>American service members and their families – now in the third year of a<br>three-week war driven by a secret Washington establishment geostrategy and<br>fueled by blatant repetitive lies – have seen their friends and lovers and<br>children in wheelchairs and in coffins. They have intimately witnessed the<br>disturbing moral fractures and personality changes that are inevitable in war –<br>whether Congress declares one or not. Unlike George W. Bush, they are challenged<br>by this. Unlike their confident and willful President, they pray every day for<br>their faith to be sustained, and to be delivered from evil.<br><br>That they might need to be prompted to cheer this particular President is no<br>surprise.<br><br>Sir Basil also noted that "No man can exactly calculate the capacity of human<br>genius and stupidity, nor the incapacity of will."<br><br>The history of George W. Bush and his long-desired and endless war in Iraq may<br>disprove Liddell-Hart on this count.<br><br>June 30, 2005<br><br>Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel,<br>who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon.<br>She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among<br>other things, writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian<br>perspective for <p><hr></blockquote><p><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Posted by: Zapata_

Stay the Crooked Course - 07/01/05 04:19 PM

Ray kicks ass!<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>Stay the Crooked Course<br><br>By Ray McGovern<br><br>The editors of the New York Times this morning feign shock that in his speech at<br>Fort Bragg yesterday evening President George W. Bush would "raise the bloody<br>flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing<br>whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks." Kudos for that insight! Better<br>three years late than never, I suppose.<br><br>Forget the documentary evidence (the Downing Street minutes) that the war on<br>Iraq was fraudulent from the outset. Forget that the U.S. and U.K. starting<br>pulverizing Iraq with stepped-up bombing months before president or prime<br>minister breathed a word to Congress or Parliament. Forget that Defense<br>Secretary Rumsfeld and his merry men-his co-opted, castrated military brass-have<br>no clue regarding what U.S. forces are up against in Iraq. The president insists<br>that we must stay the course.<br><br>As was the case in Vietnam, the Iraq war is being run by civilians innocent of<br>military experience and disdainful of advice from the colonels and majors who<br>know which end is up. Aping the president's practice of surrounding himself with<br>sycophants, Rumsfeld has promoted a coterie of yes-men to top military ranks-men<br>who "kiss up and kick down," in the words of former Assistant Secretary of State<br>Carl Ford, describing UN-nominee John Bolton's modus operandi at the State<br>Department. So when the president assures us, as he did yesterday, that he will<br>be guided by the "sober judgment of our military leaders" he is referring to the<br>castrati.<br><br>This is all lost on doting congresspeople like Sen. John Warner (R-VA), who has<br>been around long enough to know better than to recite oxymorons. Most striking<br>last week was his quixotic appeal to the military's top brass to give a candid<br>assessment of the situation.<br><br>Is there no top military official-active-duty or retired-around to tell it like<br>it is? Active-duty? No. Retired? Sure there are. But the latter get little or no<br>ink or airtime in our domesticated media. There are, Marine Corps Gen. Anthony<br>Zinni, for example, or Gen. Brent Scowcroft (USAF), who was national security<br>adviser to George H. W. Bush and, until this year, Chair of the President's<br>Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. If their remarks are reported at all, one<br>must dig deep into the inside pages to find them.<br><br><br>A General with the Courage to Speak Truth<br><br>More outspoken still has been Lt. Gen. William Odom (US Army, ret), the most<br>respected senior intelligence officer still willing to speak out on strategic<br>and intelligence issues. Unfortunately, you would have to understand German to<br>know what he thinks of "staying the course" in Iraq, because U.S. media are not<br>going to run his remarks.<br><br>Her is my translation of what Gen. Odom said last September on German TV's<br>Panorama program:<br><br>"When the president says he is staying the course, that makes me really afraid.<br>For a leader has to know when to change course. Hitler did not change his<br>course: rather he kept sending more and more troops to Stalingrad and they<br>suffered more and more casualties.<br><br>"When the president says he is staying the course it reminds me of the man who<br>has just jumped from the Empire State Building. Half-way down he says, 'I am<br>still on course.' Well, I would not want to be on course with a man who will lie<br>splattered in the street. I would like to be someone who could change the<br>course...<br><br>"Our invasion of Iraq has made it a homeland for al-Qaeda and other terrorist<br>groups. Indeed, I believe that it was the very first time that many Iraqis<br>became terrorists. Before we invaded, they had no idea of terrorism."<br><br>At Fort Bragg yesterday, the president spoke of the need to "prevent al-Qaeda<br>and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under<br>the Taliban: a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and<br>our friends." Too late, Mr. President, has no one told you that you've succeeded<br>in accomplishing that yourself?<br><br>Gen. Odom, now professor at Yale and senior fellow at the conservative Hudson<br>Institute, does not confine his criticism to the president, Rumsfeld, and the<br>malleable generals they have promoted. Odom has also been highly critical of<br>leaders of the intelligence community, an area he knows intimately, having<br>served as chief of Army Intelligence (1981-85) and Director of the National<br>Security Agency (1985-88). Commenting on the farcical pre-election-campaign<br>"intelligence reform" last summer, he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post,<br>observing:<br><br>"No organizational design will compensate for incompetent incumbents."<br><br>Odom is spot-on. In my 27 years of experience as an intelligence analyst I<br>learned the painful lesson that lack of professionalism is the inevitable<br>handmaiden of sycophancy. Military and intelligence officers and diplomats who<br>bubble to the top in this kind of environment do not tend to be the real<br>professionals.<br><br>And who pays the price? The young men and women we send off to a misbegotten,<br>unnecessary war.<br><br>When the president spoke last evening, Medal of Freedom winners former CIA<br>director George Tenet, Gen. Tommy Franks, and Ambassador Paul Bremer no doubt<br>were cheering him on from their armchairs. A most unsavory spectacle.<br><br>If they question why we died, Tell them because our fathers lied. Rudyard<br>Kipling<br><br>June 29, 2005<br><br>Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years from the administration of John F.<br>Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. He is a member of the Steering Group of<br>Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and a contributor to Imperial<br>Crusades, CounterPunch's hot new book on the Afghan/Iraq wars. He works for Tell<br>the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in<br>Washington, DC. He can be reached at:<p><hr></blockquote><p><br><br><br><br><br>