Wednesday, November 15, 2006



Watching CNN "analysis" of General Abizaid's testimony in front of Congress. Hillary Clinton says "Hope is not a strategy", to which Abizaid replies "Despair isn't a strategy either, and when I come to Washington that's what I hear". He says his staff, field commanders and soldiers, and the Iraqi leadership doesn't feel despair. CNN then cuts to a British guy saying that there is still violence, that Iran is actively supporting the insurgents (apparantly someone finally hired a military history undergrad as a consultant) and there are still casualties. He concludes that General Abizaid must be talking about a different Iraq.

Kid Rock semi-famously said "it ain't bragging if you can back it up". It's not bragging to say I know more about world history than most of the people in Congress, and I've followed Iraq closely enough to understand and appreciate the strategy that's being followed over there. Of course the war isn't being reported by me, it's being reported by the most ignorant people in the west--reporters. When the definitive history of the Iraq war is written 40 years from now, the conclusion is going to be that the generals, the soldiers and the Iraqis were winning on the ground right up until the political establishment, finally overwhelmed by negative media coverage, pulled the plug. Funnily enough, that makes the "it's another Vietnam!" crowd right--just not the way they think.

One more note: if that happens, I will become an isolationist and anti-interventionist. I will do that not because I think either of those things make any sense, but because I will have had it proven to me that in spite of the basic fortitude of American people, the American government can no longer keep up a project that lasts more than a couple years.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being usedby our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armements"

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment,budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Adminisitrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the Sec. Def. to be - Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particulary if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can't. Therefor he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is ablsolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won't happen unitil it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagon instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.
How exactly are we winning again?

I thought we were there for regime change. Oh, I mean WMDs. Oh, now it's terrorists.

I think it's hard to "win" when you don't even have a specific objective, and when you lose more people in the war than you did with what allegedly started it (solder deaths > 911 deaths).
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