Convoluted Condoleezza

This Condi breakdown begins courtesy of John H. Brown, former member of the U.S. Foreign Service circa 1981 until the invasion of Iraq (similar gems posted daily in Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press Review):

?SOON AFTER ARRIVING AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT EARLIER THIS YEAR, I HUNG A PORTRAIT OF DEAN ACHESON IN MY OFFICE.?

— “The Promise of Democratic Peace…” Condoleezza Rice, Washington Post Dec. 11, 2005
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… At any event, a country half slave — or all slave — to foreign criticism cannot stand, except as a mental institution. We cannot gird ourselves for the war against poverty or in Vietnam until we exorcise image worship.

“The American Image will Take Care of Itself,” by Dean Acheson, New York Times Magazine, February 28, 1965

Acheson, despite his contradictions, maintained the type of grounding in reality that has always been expected of Condi. Many credit Acheson, as Truman’s Sec of State, with navigating the U.S. out of Korea, however…. Vietnam, etc. Others say Acheson’s men had a role in turning the tide against McCarthy and overturning the “communists war on christmas”-type philosophy that hindered the progress of the Cold War. Ohhhh for a semblance of a reality check (or does Rumsfeld have to tender his resignation a couple more times first)?

The mixed messages in Rice’s editorial not only poke at her reticence to separate action v. inaction and progress v. hallucination but can also be read reassurance that her boss is in fact doing the right thing, or so time will tell. Just read this five times front and back:

In times of extraordinary change such as ours, when the costs of inaction outweigh the risks of action, doing nothing is not an option. If the school of thought called “realism” is to be truly realistic, it must recognize that stability without democracy will prove to be false stability, and that fear of change is not a positive prescription for policy.

Continue reading “Convoluted Condoleezza”

MI:2 Plan for Victory

President Bush's Iraq Victory Speech(Pre-speech photo via Wonkette).

Tom Raum, who has covered Washington for AP through five presidents and over 30 years writes:

President Bush came as close as he ever has to admitting mistakes on Iraq Wednesday, acknowledging setbacks and uneven results in the training of Iraqi troops in his latest defense of the war 2 1/2 years after he first declared victory.

George W. Bush finally did what he always feared doing: he announced how we would win the war, at the risk of threatening the troops by spreading formerly classified information to the public today at the US Naval Academy (transcript).

Not really. The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, as its written, was composed earlier this month according to its datestamp, despite White House claims to have been operating according to the plan since 2003.

Listen to the November 30 Talk of the Nation from NPR for a great conversation on this speech featuring James Fallows and Michael Rubin.

A couple insights from across the blogosphere:

Marc Cooper took the wayback machine and found that the “old Nixon game plan seems tailor-cut for Bush.” Seems text of the speech may have been leaked to Cooper as he vowed to sleep through the president’s “major” announcement.

Cafe Politico says there was hardly any evidence of a plan being revealed, suggesting the title: “Lots of Testosterone-Inspired Soundbites Minus Any Specifics.”

David Corn bites his lip and delivers an insightful analysis of the speech at his blog.

Sens. Kerry and Reid released statements to the effect of: “yo, I don’t think so.”

The Left Coaster says that in addition to the typical rhetoric, Bush “retreated back to his strategy of 2000. It?s him and the people of America against the entrenched political forces in DC.”

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Donald Rumsfeld Hands
Tuesday, Donald Rumsfeld had an “epiphany,” and like all of his previous epiphanies, this one resonated very little with the actual military players don’t come across like Rummy, who speaks as if he is “merely observing the Iraq war on television,”Dana Milbank wrote in the Post. Here is some of the exchange he had with his new Joint Chief of Staff:

[A]sked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that “obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility” other than to voice disapproval.

But [Gen. Peter] Pace had a different view. “It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” the general said.

Rumsfeld interjected: “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”

But Pace meant what he said. “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,” he said, firmly.

I’m glad we cleared that up. Rumsfeld should have begun the press conference with the anecdote he used to close it:

“I just don’t know…. I can only talk about what I know.” [exaggerated shrug] “That’s life.”

Finally, earlier today AP released a list of about 40 international civilians believed to still be kidnapped throughout Iraq.

How ’bout a Do-Over?

Immersed in a squallid moat of schoolwork, but coming up for air. Apparently Rumsfeld said something on Schieffer’s Sunday show to the effect of “I didn’t advocate the invasion of Iraq…” or something befuddlingly similar.

It is no secret that Rumsfeld INSISTED on micromanaging a 21st century-style speedy and slick war with minimal troops. If the U.S. had begun the ground war with at least double the troops, as General Shinsecki (Shinseki)? and other uniformed military leaders projected as reasonable; perhaps the U.S. would have the personnel to better investigate and understand the regional and national disturbances occurring, soon to occur, and purported to have occured according to horrendously viral, yet unverifiable rumors cross-cutting Iraq.

What I fear is getting out of Iraq with as hasty, careless, and incomplete a plan as we had when we went in. I am hoping that Congress and the Administration have finally hit bottom and will come out more focused and ready to work overtime to produce a quality plan. Forget about the “Global” War on Terror and stick to Iraq – where there can be no “winning” in its normal sense. With the house on fire, you obviously want to get your people out as soon as possible, but how can you best save your guests AND spare the fire from spreading throughout the neighborhood?

The president originally made a decent case for war, and it is hard not to agree that Saddam needed to be taken out. My main argument against the war was simply logistical — How can you reverse the standards of war that have been revised since Vietnam and so hastily make a plan to fix Babylon in weeks and come out unscathed, leaving only freedom dust sprinkled behind?

Without having an in depth knowledge of the history of Iraq, I was aware of the fact that the fertile soils at the isthmus of the Tigris and Euphrates have been fawned over by kingdom’s and empires and dinosaurs since the beginning of civilization. President Bush may have overlooked this when his read on the Bible was reprogrammed by “Intelligent Design.”

So I hereby recommend the use of Marty McFly’s DeLorean for one last trip back in time. Mr. President, just imagine being back on the USS Lincoln in that flight suit and having that be the last day that anyone ever mentions “war” in Iraq, or even “occupation.” A little Back to the Future action, and Rumsfeld – you can be Mr. Smooth with the press corps again, gracing the cover of People as a celebrity and American hero, now that you’ll be able to do what you wish you had done and keep Gen Shinsecki et al in command of the mission.

P.S. if you happen to remember, there are a few terrorist attacks that can be averted between 2002 and now in Madrid, Bali, and London, among other places… nahhh, I doubt anyone will remember those.

Oops, I’ve rambled. I am getting back to work. Main reason I’m posting is to insert these links below so that I can follow up on the HOT Sunday morning talk show action that I missed.

Bush’s locked out of ‘exit strategy’ in China | Rummy | Murtha on MTP | George Will | General Odom on McLaughlin | Lawrence Wilkerson | Leonard Downie to Howard Kurtz | Italia Federici on Abramoff’s bribes | SNL Highlights

Big Hi-Fives go to Crooks and Liars and the Daily Dissent for hosting and posting.

Testing customized newsfeed software HERE

The Pull-Out Technique

Tuesday on the Sean Hannity show (I skimmed the DoD transcript) Donald Rumsfeld predicted that the Iraqi insurgency will diminish after the December elections because “what the terrorists will be doing at that stage is attacking the Iraqi Constitution which was fashioned by the Iraqi people and an Iraqi government that was elected under the Iraqi Constitution, and they won’t be against coalition people.”

So the war is nearly over?

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SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Oh, sure. Let me — No, let me rephrase it. First of all, I don’t know what war you’re talking about.

HANNITY: I’m talking about the war in Iraq.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Okay, if you’re talking about Iraq — The Global War on Terror I regret to say is going to go on for some time because of the advantage that a terrorist has in being able to attack and the difficulty of defending against attacks at any location at any moment of the day or night.

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Which makes me wonder, Mr. Love ’em then leave ’em, what might change with the news today regarding the discovery by U.S. troops of up to 200 Sunnis at a secret prison of which there are said to be more?

Prime Minister (of course the deputy PM Ahmed Chalabi met with Rummy the night before as some in the administration “still believe that there were WMD“) Ibrahim al-Jafaari:

I was informed that there were 173 detainees held at an Interior Ministry prison and they appear to be malnourished. There is also some talk that they were subjected to some kind of torture.”

While there are several warring militia in the region, it is said that the most feared of them all, the Wolf Brigade (a Shi’ite dominated militia) are hosts of these prisons, according to an article in Wednesday’s Independent which also includes “an American official” uttering: “It is getting more and more like Mogadishu every day.”

And this will stop as soon as the elections are over?

For the first time since the invasion of Iraq, a timetable has officially been brought into play regarding Coalition troops withdrawal. Last week, after the UN unanimously approved a resolution giving a mandate for forces to remain for another year, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, followed by Condoleezza Rice and Kofi Annan, made secret visits to Baghdad.

Last Thursday, Straw told al-Jafaari that he hoped UK troops would make a swift withdrawal. The next day, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani went on television and warned that immediate removal of the 8,000 British troops in Iraq would be a catastrophe, but that within one year, “Iraqi troops will be ready to replace British forces in the south.”

British PM Tony Blair is now with Defense Secretary John Reid and General Sir Mike Jackson, head of the British Army, who confirmed over the weekend that the timetable announced by Talabani is “entirely consistent with our aims.”

Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq Rubaie told reporters in Cairo that 30,000 troops will be withdrawn by the middle of 2006 after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday.

In Tuesday’s New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof guesses that the best bet is to give a timetable for withdrawal. He quotes a member of the Iraqi media:

The Americans said that they came to overthrow Saddam Hussein,” she said. “They did so and Saddam Hussein is gone, and they are still there. So they are there for their own reasons” – she was apparently alluding to stealing oil and setting up bases.

Rumsfeld took a Churchillian take on this in his Defense Department Briefing Tuesday, channelling the WWII Prime Minister (Rummy read Winston’s bio Monday night), whose dilemma “was not winning the war, but rather persuading people to allow him to win it.”

It goes without saying that a timetable IS mandatory – one can’t carry on with the mantra: “Stay the course,” when there clearly is none.

Truth is, the situation in Iraq may take a turn for the worst when and if we leave.

But, as a recent editorial in the Arab News asks, “can conditions in Iraq in fact get any worse if the coalition withdraws?”

Rumsfeld to Profit from Bird-flu Hoax

Donald RumsfeldIn 1997, Donald Rumsfeld was appointed chairman of Gilead Sciences, Inc. Dr. Joseph Mercola [link] reports, Gilead Sciences owns the intellectual rights to Tamil Flu and stands to profit as a result of the bird flu scare.

Jay Gordon explains in Huffington Post that this medicine would be worthless in the event of an epidemic.

Right up there with Cheney and Halliburton, says the beardedoleguy.

BREAKING: Tamil Flu moves to “foil hoarding” ? WaPo