Archive for April, 2007

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What Rummy And Friends Didn’t Bother To Read

April 29, 2007

I stumbled upon this today:  Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario (pdf- 84 pages)

In October 2002, the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, in coordination with the Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff/G-3, initiated a study to analyze how American and coalition forces can best address the requirements that will necessarily follow operational victory in a war with Iraq. reconstructing-iraq.jpg
The objectives of the project were to determine and analyze probable missions for military forces in a post-Saddam Iraq; examine associated challenges; and formulate strategic recommendations for transferring responsibilities to coalition partners or civilian organizations, mitigating local animosity, and facilitating overall mission accomplishment in the war against terrorism. The study has much to offer planners and executors of operations to occupy and reconstruct Iraq, but also has many insights that will apply to achieving strategic objectives in any conflict after hostilities are concluded. The current war against terrorism has highlighted the danger posed by failed and struggling states. If this nation and its coalition partners decide to undertake the mission to remove Saddam Hussein, they will also have to be prepared to dedicate considerable time, manpower, and money to the effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fighting is over. Otherwise, the success of military operations will be ephemeral, and the problems they were designed to eliminate could return or be replaced by new and more virulent difficulties.

Reading it is like discovering the long lost works of Nostradamus or something.   Virtually every pitfall and challenge we’ve had since we invaded Iraq is addressed in those 60+ pages of text. In fact, it really makes you wonder how anyone thought this was going to be worth the risk.  It is an absolutely glaring contradiction to the rosy predictions made by guys like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and makes the ‘Mission Accomplished’ incident seem even more absurd than it already appeared to be.  It also reminds me of this: Iraq post-war plan muzzled

“The secretary of defense continued to push on us … that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we’re going to take out the regime, and then we’re going to leave,” Scheid said. “We won’t stay.”

Scheid said the planners continued to try “to write what was called Phase 4,” or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

Even if the troops didn’t stay, “at least we have to plan for it,” Scheid said.

“I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that,” Scheid said. “We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

“He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war.”

Ya don’t say?

Update:  In today’s WaPo: Assessments Made in 2003 Foretold Situation in Iraq

The two assessments, titled “Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq” and “Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq,” were produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and will be a major part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s long-awaited Phase II report on prewar intelligence assessments about Iraq. The assessments were delivered to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees before the war started.

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There Is No ‘War On Terror’

April 28, 2007

The question came up at the Dems. presidential debate the other day, and the field was asked to raise their hands in response (hat tip: hot air):

My quote from LGF:

I’m surprised more Dems wouldn’t want to distance themselves from a catchphrase that provided a foundation for the Iraq invasion. On the other hand, maybe some of them are worried about how their vote will get spun by the noise machine.

I for one can make the distinction between smart counterterrorism/protecting the homeland and a ‘war’ that is, by definition, unwinnable. Thats why I flip out a bit when someone says whey want to ‘win’ or that we are ‘winning’ the WoT. There is no ‘winning’; only not losing. We can be ‘safer’, but never completely ‘safe’. ‘Terror’ isn’t going to sign a treaty, call for a ceasefire, or announce its surrender. etc.

Update:  The subject came up again on LGF:  Edwards:  War on Terror is a fake.

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OK, Seriously, Raise Your Hand If You’re One Of The 28 Percent

April 27, 2007

Via the WSJ

President Bush’s approval rating slipped to new lows in the most recent Harris Interactive survey, but he’s not alone: For the first time since the series began, all of the political figures and institutions included in the survey have negative performance ratings.

Of the 1,001 American adults polled online April 20-23, only 28% had a positive view of Mr. Bush’s job performance, down from 32% in February and from a high of 88% in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The current rating is his weakest showing since his inauguration.

(hat tip:rpassman) | digg story

Well, we know the gang at Blogs for Bush are part of the group, but who else?  (BTW- I suppose if you’ve titled your blog “Blogs for Bush”, one may feel obligated to support the president and his administration unconditionally.  Sometimes I wonder what Bush would have to do to lose these people.  Bite the head off a bat in public?  Nah.)

I mean, forget Scooter Libby/Plame, Harriet Miers, Katrina, Gonzales, ‘Brownie’, Rumsfeld, cronyism in the CPA, no WMD stockpiles, 5 million missing emails,  no Saddam-al Qaeda link, Walter Reed, and the fact that he has single-handedly squandered any post-9/11 international sympathy and support…the man is just plain painful to listen to.   There’s absolutely nothing about him that comes across as someone who represents this great nation of ours.  Small miracles happen when Bush manages to put a complete sentence together without his audience holding back cringes.

So tell me….What is in this damn kool-aid you’re drinking?

Update: As of this writing, there are 340 comments on the Digg link. I gotta tell ya, it’s hard to find those 28%ers.

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Judith A. Klinghoffer’s Bizarre View On ‘Winning The War On Terror’

April 26, 2007

As the blogs react to a recent opinion poll that came out regarding terrorism and the Muslim world, one column by Judith A. Klinghoffer caught my attention:  Poll: US unpopular but winning War on Terror

Now, anyone who’s read a bit of my blog will probably be thinking that my head exploded just reading the title (you’re not far off), but I thought I’d comment on it.  I’ll skip the long analysis of what was prefaced as a ‘push poll’, and move right to the conclusion:

All in all, the glass is 3/4 full. Yes, theoretically, Muslims would like to see a day when they will all unite within the border of a righteous Khalifat but they disagree with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden means and unwilling to pay the high price needed to achieve it. The As it was the American led War on Terror which raised that price, it is a small wonder America is not popular in the Muslim world. I am sure the US was not popular in Germany during W.W.II. or in the USSR during the Cold war. Trying to be popular with the enemy is a strange idea anyhow. Actually, as we have learned with victory comes even a very short lived boost of popularity. All in all, PIPA push poll contains encouraging news.

Stumbling through the grammatical errors in that, and ignoring the fact that Judith slipped in her opinion that the ‘Muslim world’ is the ‘enemy’ (and validating our unpopularity in the process), it’s clear that I’ve come across a rare brand of Kool-Aid here.  

On one hand, we have the quest for ‘victory’ in the ‘War on Terror’.  A war which, by definition, can only be ‘won’ the day that people stop wanting to blow us up. On the other hand, we have a poll showing our rampant unpopularity and sympathy to al Qaeda across 4 Mid East nations .  The verdict: ‘encouraging news’.  Even if it is a push poll, I don’t know how anyone can view this as a positive step towards victory in a war that is unwinnable to begin with anyway.  In fact, I think I would have learned more if she would have just taken the poll herself and posted her answers.

Something tells me that this all comes back to Bush and Iraq.  The war has worsened our post 9/11 position.  The war supporters don’t want to admit that us ‘BDS’ sufferers were right all along, so they whitewash news like this by screaming ‘push poll’.  It’s the same type of thing when people say that the ISG doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about (as if they do either), or try to spin the NIE’s assessments.  No one wants to admit that they supported what turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

So, just for the record, this has been the most popular forum on FearBush.com, and has run like this since 2002:

World War III
September 11th was undoubtedly one of the most tragic days in American history. It’s unconscionable that Bush has used those who lost lives on that day as justification for an endless campaign of fear, misinformation and hate. Bush’s sudden need to wage war on Iraq will only breed more world hatred for the US, inspire more terrorism, at a cost of even more untold civilian lives. War should always be a LAST RESORT, not a matter of policy.

Registration is open.

Update:  More ‘encouraging news’ : Annual terrorism report will show 29% rise in attacks

WASHINGTON – A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a nearly 30 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide in 2006 to more than 14,000, almost all of the boost due to growing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday.

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My Possible Role In Rosie’s Departure From ABC

April 25, 2007

I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, as I know it will probably sound a little nuts.  I do, however, feel that I should get this off my chest, since I had a feeling that Rosie’s days at ABC were numbered after her little rant about WTC7 and the 9/11 attacks last month.

I know that Rosie and ABC are maintaining that the reason she’ll be leaving in June has everything to do with contract negotiations, and nothing to do with anything Rosie’s said on the show.  But, it’s hard to overlook the coincidence that this news comes less than a month after “the incident” and numerous calls for boycotting of The View’s various sponsors (not to mention at least a full week of conservative talking heads railing ABC on TV and the radio for giving the “Truthers” a voice).  For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll assume the latter theory (tinfoil hats are optional)….

On the the day of Rosie’s rant, I was surfing the blogs and found the video segment posted on LGF.  I remember thinking that Rosie had gone “all in” this time, since she had hinted at a little 9/11 Trutherdom earlier on the show.  In addition, I remembered that I had stumbled upon this picture a few days earlier:

rosietruthers.jpg

So, I decided to submit it to LGF,  since a) it seemed quite relevant and b) I’m not a Truther.  At the time, I really didn’t think it was a big deal, but as I began to see the picture show up on other blogs and eventually in a boycott video, I started to realize that the picture may have been a little more powerful than my first impression.  As a matter of fact, I suppose it could be argued that no other single image tied ABC to the 9/11 Truth movement so directly.  I mean, there it was:  the ABC logo, 9/11 Truth, and “Thanks Rosie!” all in one picture.  I’m sure this is an association that Disney/ABC was hoping they could avoid.  With the pic’s exposure on at least two popular blogs, I think it’s safe to day that the image could have been included in a few angry emails that got sent off to ABC.  Take it a step further, and it’s plausable that the image eventually appeared in the email inbox of a higher ranking ABC exec. or two. 

If you assume all that (and that’s a big IF), then I’m sorry to say that the 30 seconds it took me to locate that picture and post it in the comments section of LGF may have played a role in Rosie’s departure from The View.

Phew!  There.  I feel better.  Now, someone please post an animated gif of a black helicopter (just for fun).

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To Malkin, The War Is A Big Joke

April 25, 2007

Fellow netizen Killgore Trout posted this link over on LGF, and I have to say I’m a little shocked:

As I stated a few days ago, I think Harry Reid was unwise to say that ‘the war is lost’.  This display, however, seems to reveal an attitude of flippancy towards the Iraq situation.  It’s pretty embarrassing, if you ask me.  After all, while Malkin waves her white flag pom poms and spells LOSER in a lame appeal to the 30%ers, our troops continue to die: Base mourns 9 soldiers killed in Iraq

The spouses of the 82nd Airborne have grown accustomed to peeking through their blinds in the mornings to make sure a casualty notification team isn’t waiting outside.

This week, nine of those families were discovering the worst: Two truck bombs killed nine of their paratroopers in the division’s deadliest day of combat since the Vietnam War.

Oh well, I hope they had a good laugh.

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Wal-Mart Chooses HD-DVD

April 24, 2007

Gotta love Digg.   

There is one retailer that has the power to call the winner of the protracted Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD fight and that vendor is Wal-Mart.

read more | digg story

I have to admit that initially I thought that the Blu-ray format was going to win this one, solely based on the fact the the PS3 is also a Blu-ray player.  Sony has had a bit of a shaky launch of its new gaming console, however, and the regular stand-alone players are still more expensive than their HD-DVD counterparts.

Honestly, I haven’t been terribly impressed with either format.  Most of the players available have plenty of glitches (1st gen. machines tend to have that), and the quality of the content is currently only a benefit to those who a) have an HDTV, and b) are unsatisfied enough with regular DVD to make the plunge into a newer, more expensive format.  That isn’t a big market right now.

Also, the jump from regular DVD to HD/Blu-ray isn’t as significant as the previous jump from VHS to DVD.  Think about it.  When DVD was introduced roughly 10 years ago, the benefits over VHS included much better picture and sound quality, as well as convenience features like no rewinding, chapter selection, multiple audio tracks and subtitles, repeat functions, etc.. When you go from standard DVD to these HD formats, you’re really only gaining some picture quality (the sound is also higher resolution, but most people would be challenged to notice).  Simply stated, these formats aren’t nearly as groundbreaking as the last one, and I think it’s quite possible that they could both flop.  That, or they may wind up being used more for computer and professional applications than movies, since an optical disc that can hold up to 50 gigs could have a lot of uses besides the ability to see T2 in a little higher picture quality.  Add to the equation the rise in on-demand and downloadable content, and you might just see your average consumer paying $5.99 to watch a new release one time off their HD cable box instead of using one of these new players.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to watch this play out. 

Another related Chamber post: Adult Movie Makers Are Embracing HD