Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Even those who once cheered the war to replace Saddam Hussein and bring democracy to Iraq are having second thoughts. Call it a scapegoat, or call it what you want, but many of the former cheerleaders place the blame at the foot of the Bush Administration and its incompetence.

Updated 1-17-2007.

How do you lose a war?

1. Take away the President's decision-making power by never letting him hear the disagreements.
2. Refuse to admit mistakes.
3. Ignore the real war while you war amongst yourselves.
4. Fire the guy who gets out and does stuff and then take as gospel truth everything the guy says who is hunkered down inside a Green Zone of his own making.
5. Start before the plan is complete or the players are in place.

I guess I don't blame Colin Powell for stepping down as Secretary of State. He probably saw it all coming. Actually, it was probably nearly there.

Some of the neo-conservatives became disillusioned with the Bush Administration's ability to prosecute the war in Iraq about the same time Colin Powell did. Others are just recently expressing their frustration. Cliff (and others) on OneUtah, probably fairly accurately, asks (my interpretation) if the Bush Administration could really be that stupid. I don't think so, but they sure act like it.

I thought it the epitome of irony that Bush chose the number 21,500 as the number of troops we would need to complete the Iraq "surge" so that we could "clear and hold" Baghdad. It's
as though he were saying, 'We can easy do it with 20,000 more, but let's throw in another fifteen hundred just for good measure." This after Jay Garner and nearly all Bush's generals (except for Tommy Franks, whose military leadership experience was limited to the art of blitzkrieg) told him that we would need about 400,000 troops to accomplish the task at hand.

It all is coming to a head for me right now as I contemplate that my contribution to Iraq is likely going to be that I made a few friends and impressed several with my ability to speak some Arabic. No, I really don't think Bush is that stupid. Nor Cheney. Nor Rumsfeld. So what gives?

These are some of the thoughts I had as I read a recent article in Vanity Fair magazine.

Update 1/17/2007 - Like me, a lot of the Neo-Conservatives (I'm not one) felt that America would be helping Iraq achieve liberty. But it hasn't worked out that way, at least yet.

Richard Perle has this to say about what went wrong:

The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly. At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I think he was led to believe that things were chugging along far more purposefully and coherently than in fact they were.
If he were asked today, should we go into Iraq, his answer would be:

'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.'
Kenneth Adelman is more pointed about the incompetence of the Bush Administration:

I am extremely disappointed by the outcome in Iraq, because I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional.
James Woolsey was very in favor of an Iraq invasion, but now is angered and perplexed that we are making the same errors that we made in Vietnam. One of the greatest problems is that we don't stay in an area that we have cleaned of insurgents. As soon as we leave, the insurgents return. This is not a problem that the military leaders have caused. It is a problem that could only have been solved by using the approximately 400,000 troops that many advised the Bush Administration to use in the first place. The paltry addition of 21,500 troops in an area the size of Baghdad will likely make little difference.


Rich Warnick said...

Colin Powell was fired.

Frank Staheli said...

Thanks for the correction. I thought he had resigned, but it was only that he apparently wanted to. The article states:

"After four long years, Powell had anticipated the end of his service and sometimes even longed for it. He had never directly told the president but thought he had made clear to him during the summer of 2004 that he did not intend to stay into a second term."

Anonymous said...

Why are you using a photo of Tommy Tubberville with the caption Incompetence? He only coached the only team that beat the BCS Champions?

Frank Staheli said...

YOu have a good point. I wondered when it would come up. I guess I ought to stop being lazy...

I liked the thought at the bottom of the image. Maybe I'll have to use a graphics program to inject Bush/Cheney's pictures there instead.