Monday, September 10, 2007

Trying to Carterize Bush

The Left wants nothing more than to revenge the shame of 1980. The one-two punch of national security (Iran Hostages) and economics (late '70s malaise) helped bring about the Reagan Revolution that has haunted them ever since.

With the numbers in the Senate and the post-two term Party switchover history as a tail wind - they so want a defeat in Iraq and the hints of an economic slowdown to bring them to a magic political power heaven - well, they cannot help themselves.

The comparison is weak and the times very disjointed, but it is fun to watch them try - however goofy it may read. Here is a great man being covered by a little man - a little man with a bias. Yep, back to the NYT and Roger Cohen.

Outside the report by Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker tomorrow, you would be hard pressed to find a more interesting and perhaps important (can't find the source document yet online) than a piece Lt. Gen Chiarelli (USA A) argues in a piece written with Maj. Stephen Smith (USA A) in the upcoming edition of Military Review.

I don't know too much about Maj. Smith, but right now Lt Gen Ciarelli is the senior military assistant to SECDEF Gates. He was the head of the 1st Cav. in Iraq during the 2005 timeframe.

Instead of doing a full Fisk on Cohen - I am going to pull out the good stuff and then the BDS bile. The good stuff (works from Ciarelli, of course).
“Much of our government and interagency seem to be in a state of denial about the requirements needed to adapt to modern warfare,” Chiarelli says, adding that even today some believe “that all we have to do to win our modern wars is kill and capture enough of the enemy.”
Dare we say, "Comprehensive Approach?" Not all that new, but boy have people forgotten it.
“If we are unable to do a better job than our enemies of influencing the world’s perception, then even the most brilliant campaign plan will be unlikely to succeed,” he writes. Unreadiness for the real-time reactions of an interconnected globe has often allowed a video-camera-wielding enemy “to run circles around us, especially in the information environment.”
Strategic Communications failure. Yep. We can do a lot better.
Further damage has been caused by some military leaders and service members who “have not internalized the moral and ethical codes that define who we are as an armed force and nation.”

Failure to meet this moral “imperative” hurts “our credibility as a fighting force, our mission and indeed our standing in the world.” Chiarelli adds that, “Too often, we are reluctant to admit mistakes.”
Nothing shocking there, but again a fundamental that needs repeating. However, if you want credibility, stop promoting Happy Talkers. Their word is FOD.
“The U.S. as a nation — and indeed most of the U.S. government — has not gone to war since 9/11,” he observes. While the military is fighting, “the American people and most of the other institutions of national power have largely gone about their business.”
Now we get to a juicy critique. I will say however, that when I get together with gaggles of non-military friends and family - I can go days without anyone mentioning that we are at war, and when the subject comes up - most people go somewhere else. Most of them do not have a buy in.
Chiarelli ... has seen the military pushed to provide agricultural, governance and legal experts when they might come from the Departments of Agriculture, State and Justice.

“Our current problems raise the legitimate question of whether the U.S., or any democracy, can successfully prosecute an extended war without a true national commitment,” he writes.
Solid point worthy of discussion. Now for the other side of the coin....or Cohen. Here is where you can see how BDS can make otherwise smart people just not focus on the point at hand.
Rarely, if ever, has daily death in combat been accompanied on such a scale by the maxing out of credit cards at the mall. President Bush likes to call himself a “war president.” More accurately he has been the war-and-shop, conflict-and-home-equity-credit president.
While Bush considers lowering troop levels, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke considers lowering interest rates. The overseas and home fronts, the dropping and the shopping, are not unrelated after all. ... Chiarelli ... ... saw his soldiers killed in flimsy Humvees because American industry was not geared up in World War II fashion to produce replacements.
Ummmmm, no. They are not flimsy. They were not armored because the institutional military in the '90s decided to ignore the lessons of Somalia. That is the fault of the military, a military that was in love with Shinseki like focus on big ticket items like the Crusader.

There you go. Once again, BDS destroys another mind. Cohen is a sharp guy, but that hobbled tie in makes him look like a shoddy, ahem, blogger.

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