Sunday, April 15, 2007

The News In Iraq

Image of original painting, "General Mushroom," used with permission of the artist, Mark Bryan

Well, with the "surge" & all, President Bush's one-size-fits all solution to preserving American access to the oilfields he has long coveted, we'd expect those little brown people over there to be more ingratiating & awestruck by our awesome power to sweep them up & put them in indefinite detention without trial, even if they are innocent.

But seems they aren't. They're just getting bolder & more defiant. (Imagine that!)
In case you haven't been paying attention lately, the news from Iraq is bad & just keeps getting badder ~ bombing attacks in the supposedly safe Green Zone (just after John McCain's heavily-fortified "see ~ I can walk through the market perfectly safely" prospective Prez photo-op), increased violence overall, & as if that weren't enough, American Marines misbehaving & going on killing sprees (again), troops getting their tours in Iraq extended (yet again?).
And amidst it all, nobody fool enough to step up & take Hapless George's offer of a job as "War Czar," & willing scapegoat for everybody else's mistakes. (Title bar.)
Imagine that.
Slate deconstructs the futile effort (not least because working under the supremely arrogant & unapologetic Bush is bound to be a thankless toil for no particular reason) thusly:
"Let's be clear about the significance of these refusals. Generals do not become generals by being demure. They are, as a rule, confident, opinionated, and in many cases, arrogant. Retired generals like to talk with other retired generals about how they would handle one foul-up or another if they were still in command.
"In other words, if some retired generals out there had a great idea about how to solve the mess in Iraq, and if the president offered them the authority to do what they wanted to do, few of them would hesitate to step up and take charge.
"The fact that Bush has found no takers suggests one of three possibilities: The generals don't have any great ideas; they don't believe they'd really be given carte blanche; or, most likely, to some degree, both.
"There's a history of American policy czars—grey eminences solemnly appointed by presidents to untangle the day's knottiest problems (drug czar, energy czar, inflation czar, etc.)—and each chapter has been a tale of frustration and woe.
"The reasons for failure have been the same in each instance.
"First, the sources of the problem are beyond any one person's grasp.
"Second, the president names a czar because the normal government agencies have failed or don't know what to do.
"Third, czars may be given a mandate to knock heads together, but they're not given the power to set policy. If the president doesn't have a sound policy, the most efficient coordinator can't solve anything important.
"Fourth, an outsider, no matter how smart and respected, probably doesn't have a better grasp of the problem than the responsible government agencies do—or if he does, he doesn't really control the levers to force those agencies to follow his directives.
"Fifth, everyone (except maybe the appointed czar) understands all this from the outset—understands that the whole enterprise is a PR stunt to make the president look like he's trying to do something and to absolve him from blame after it's clear that even the wise outsider couldn't work miracles.
"Such would be the case with the war czar, too, and that's probably why no general worth his stars wants the job.
"The decliners have been prominent men indeed: retired Gen. Jack Keane, former Army vice chief of staff (and the co-author, with Frederick Kagan, of the briefing that Bush cited to justify the "surge"); retired Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and retired Marine Gen. John Sheehan, former NATO commander.
"Gen. Sheehan, the only one who talked on the record with the Post reporters, made the point clearly. 'The very fundamental issue,' he said, referring to Bush and his aides, 'is they don't know where the hell they're going.'

"Another problem is Vice President Dick Cheney, who, as Sheehan put it, believes 'We're going to win' and still has far more influence than the administration's pragmatists, who are looking for a responsible way out. In other words, Sheehan realizes that if he took the job, he would always be outflanked by Cheney.

"'So,' Sheehan said, 'rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No thanks.' "

Poor George. Seems that God & the professional warriors of the planet, have deserted him.
Will he think about (finally) giving up the charade?
DP is betting "not."



Anonymous Millard Fillmore said...

Gee. Why aren't there more comments on your blog?

5:37 PM  
Blogger Demon Princess said...

Oh, I don't know, "Millard Fillmore"--because I don't bother to pimp it out more, I guess.

I imagine you have your own ideas on that, & you can stuff them if you're thinking what I'm thinking you're thinking.

I get plenty of repeat visitors from all over the world, according to my sitemeter, so I think I'm satisfied. You apparently don't agree, but not everyone leaves comments (I very rarely do myself, even if I heartily agree, & often it's because I have nothing to add because they've addressed the issue so thoroughly). And if I DON'T like what they have to say, I'm enough of a grownup to leave them alone.

Again, seems we're not destined to agree on much, Millie.

8:06 PM  

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