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View Diary: CIA Expert to Bush/Cheney: "Get A Grip On Reality" of Iraq (220 comments)

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  •  different and the same (none)
    I agree about Vietnam, but I think that the occupation of Iraq is a classic example of hubris.  Rumsfeld and others in the War Department (can we return to that name?) didn't stop and think very hard about what would happen after the invasion.  Besides Shinsecki, I'm sure there were many people throughout government warning about the consequences but the arrogance of the powerful won out - as it did in Vietnam!

    Now, it seems that to perpetuate the conflict only makes sense for the administration.  It gains them supporters of the troops who cannot separate their support from support of the occupation.  It gains them people who consider themselves moderate or mainstream, the administration's stance on not increasing troop levels (which isn't really true) will be seen as moderate compared to calls for increasing the boots on the ground.  There are probably a couple of other factors as well.  [I highly recommend a reading of Barbara Tuchman's "The March of Folly" for an historian's account of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.  She's a terrific writer and historian.]  This is where I think that we are following the same path as Vietnam - we are treading down the path of folly.  Folly in not listening to advisers, folly in believing in the rightness of our actions without examining our goals and desired outcomes.  The only thing I am sure of is this:  this will not end like Vietnam.  Some different and equally bad outcome will occur, but not the same one which is why it is dangerous to use the comparison in how to deal with it.

    I am moving slowly towards withdrawal as our action because our involvement seems to only create more chaos.  However, how we undertake withdrawal, the timeline, the language used, the 'process' of withdrawal, will make the difference in its success.  I actually think Dennis Kucinich described that process pretty well during one of the debates.  I can't recall his words, but I think that the right track has been defined and can be refined.  Right now, however, we are so far from taking that path ....

    •  I agree with virtually everything (none)
      you say. Certainly there is massive amount of hubris contaminating the ideology that led to this invasion in the first place, the policies enacted to implement it, the disdain and contempt for the rest of the world, and the strategies on the ground that guarantee "failure", (to secure the peace or reign in the opposition), at every turn.

      I agree about the endemic "folly" that this debacle shares with it's Vietnam predecessor as far as the failure of the "suits" in DC to heed the advice and experience of the commanders.

      My point was only that in the Vietnam war, this kind of folly and hubris were the simple and direct result of the war's architect's infatuation with their  own ideas. In Iraq, certainly the same ideological infatuation and delusions of grandeur apply, but the additional wrinkle is added that the apparent incompetence is deliberate, designed to mask the true intent of the war enthusiasts which is to maintain as much violence as is required to bolster the pretext for longterm deployment of a large military contingent for the forseeable future. And I just don't see this element as part of the Vietnam situation.

      I suspect that as long as the current policy makers have power, the only withdrawl of troops we'll likely see is a withdrawl from the streets of Iraq to quarters behind the blast shields of those 14 giant military bases currently under construction. I fully expect that some such re-configuration, (and yet another new White House definition of why we're still there in the first place), could begin to take place not too long before the 2006 election cycle. After all, not too many voters here really care too much about dead Iraqis, but certainly, if it can be shown that Bush and his repubs are doing something significant that reduces the number of US dead, it will hope all those rightwing repubs, (and Lieberman), at the polls.

      Defeat the sound-bite.

      by sbj on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 10:53:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes (none)
        yes, I see your point and I agree that it will be interesting to see the spin machine kick in to gear in 2006.  The one variable that I don't think anyone can call at this point is the recruitment and retention rates.  If the Army misses its goals (assuming these are their basic needs) by 30% or more in to 2006 it's going to throw off everyone's calculations.  Maybe even we voters will start to pay attention to Iraq then.
        •  Yes! (none)
          As you point out, if more and more people simply  refrain from enlisting because they don't view the Iraq debacle as having anything to do with "serving and defending" America, this will be the most powerful and effective rejection of the central focus of the Bush regime's entire foreign policy agenda.

          Such a situation might not stop Cheney and Perle from trying to initiate a bomb and missile attack against Iran, but it will make it harder for the congressional repubs to support them openly.

          Very important point you brought up about this!

          Defeat the sound-bite.

          by sbj on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 12:29:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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