2
   

Who dismissed Rumsfield?

 
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2006 10:11 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
You forgot childish. I am just starting a four day weekend in which I have a lot of personal and family things to attend to, but I'll drop in from time to time during the period, and will respond to any sincere communications either within this thread or in the forum at large.


Don't tire yourself.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Nov, 2006 05:09 am
Re: Blatham
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
Blatham, thanks for the article; just finished reading it.

I've always had love-hate reaction to Rumsfeld. I despise his true-believer arrogance and unwillingness to listen to others, a classic martinet. I admired his goal to reform the Military to prepare it for the real world---as he sadly perceived it too narrowly.

The thing that puzzles me about all of the true believers and, even the military leadership, is that lack of knowledge of tribal societies and their histories. Anyone knowing anything about history understands that the weakest side in a dispute will not confront head-on a more powerful foe. They will use the techniques demonstrated by American Indian tribes from the first foreign landers on our soil. Guerrilla tactics, or call them insurgent tactics, picking them off one by one on the trail.

Why couldn't these military and civilian leaders anticipate that the weaker force remaining in Iraq would instinctively use guerrilla tactics against the invaders as well as their tribal enemies? We now know that Saddam developed such a plan for his army to follow. Why didn't we anticipate that? Was it because of a lack of understanding of human resistence to an invasion of their tribal territory and how a weaker force would retaliate?

I strongly believe that, in addition to war college military warfare training, military leadership must study world history, especially the history and culture of the hot-spot regions in which the military might be expected to be involved.

How many mistakes do we have to make before we learn these lessons?

BBB


Sorry, I somehow missed your early post here.

Have you picked up "Fiasco" yet? It's really very good, covering the story in depth and it's greatly benefitted by the author's long-term relationship to the Pentagon. One of the many things I learned (I've never been interested in military matters) was how much excellent scholarship exists here and there throughout the US military. There are lots of really bright, well-educated folks kicking about.

But the central problem, repeated over and over, was that they weren't listened to until much too late, if at all. This strident arrogance in the Bush/Cheney/Rummie people (and in the neoconservative chorus) made for pretty tragic stupidhood. And political or administrative notions (unified message, project confidence, etc) acted to strengthen the failures attending arrogance...contrary views were suppressed and punished (ps...watch fox hacks et al now quote Zinni approvingly as he advises no fast withdrawl).

There's some earlier comment here placing "the press" as causal in what has gone wrong. But that for-public-consumption propaganda doesn't have a presence in the thinking of the military commanders in Iraq - strategic, tactical, and planning errors, poor foresight and lack of resiliency as a consequence of arrogance are what they wrestle with. The seven generals who earlier this year called for Rummie's dismissal were far more representative of military leadership thinking than the "press" notion suggested by McG and Brandon, etc. But, that's what lousy information sources will get you.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Nov, 2006 05:12 am
ps

case in point... http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB182.pdf
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Nov, 2006 05:23 am
One further thing...

A real curiosity to me is the lack of address from the folks on the right here to comment much on the neoconservative element. That's a long-standing ommission, but particularly odd now given that the central neocon figures, wishing to salvage their ideology and reputations, are in pretty loud and concerted "blame Bush" mode. Kristol, being the smart operator that he is, plays this closer to the chest, particularly on his regular appearances on Fox, because he understands that Republican power is likely the only vehicle open to forwarding the neocon ideas/plans, thus he does't wish to create too much ill-feeling among Fox viewers.

Quote:
The discrediting and disloyalty of the neoconservatives have not removed them from the play. Just before the impending electoral doom, they scurried off the sinking ship. Richard Perle, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board, put the onus on Bush in an interview in Vanity Fair: "At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible." Kenneth Adelman, another neocon DPB member, who famously predicted the invasion of Iraq would be a "cakewalk," said of the Bush administration policymakers: "Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

Yet the neocons are still plotting to confound Baker. Clifford May, president of the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and a member of the Iraq Study Group advisory panel, told me that ISG member Edwin Meese, Ronald Reagan's former attorney general, will thwart consensus by opposing the ISG's recommendations.

The neocon logic in favor of the Iraq war was that the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad. In other words, an invasion would install an Iraqi democracy that would inevitably force the Palestinians to meekly submit to the Israelis. Now near unanimity exists on Baker's commission to reverse that formula, advisory panel members have told me. The central part of a new policy must be, they believe, that the road to Baghdad leads through Jerusalem.

Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush's former national security advisor, who is very close to Baker, spelled out the notion that security and stability in the region, including Iraq, can only be achieved by reestablishing the Middle East peace process in an article published in the Washington Post on July 30. Scowcroft's piece is a précis of Baker's views as well. On Sept. 15, Philip Zelikow, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's counselor and a former Scowcroft protégé, echoed Scowcroft's ideas in a speech at Washington's Middle East Institute. Afterward, Cheney pressured Rice and she rebuked her closest deputy, underlining her own weakness.

Since then the electoral catastrophe has intervened, giving Baker leeway (and sidelining the feeble Rice). Baker even summoned Tony Blair to testify on Tuesday in support of a restart of the Middle East peace process. If Baker were to propose that, he would not explicitly state, though he well knows, that its enactment would require firings of strategically placed neoconservatives on the National Security Council and Cheney's staff, in particular Elliott Abrams, deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy, who also handles Near Eastern affairs.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2006/11/16/baker_rescue/
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Nov, 2006 05:31 am
And here's a nice bit on the some war rhetoric, or war delusion, or war snow-jobbing...war-something.
Quote:
Gen. John Abizaid told the Senate Armed Services Committee today that the United States needs to maintain -- or possibly increase -- current troop levels in Iraq because it has only "four to six months" left to stop sectarian violence from spiraling completely out of control.

Stop us if you've heard this one before.

As somebody said the other day, the "next six months" are always critical in Iraq. Tony Blair told reporters back in January 2004 that Iraq was about to enter "a very critical six months." Chuck Hagel said "the next six months will be very critical" in August 2005, and Joseph Biden said "the next six months are going to tell the story" in December 2005. U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said in July that "the next six months will be critical in terms of reining in the danger of civil war." Gen. George Casey said in early October that "the next six months will determine the future of Iraq." And a certain New York Times columnist has declared the importance of the "next six months" so many times that 180 days is now known in some circles as "a Friedman."
http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Nov, 2006 06:25 am
And here is the AEI receipe for conflagration (but it will, after all, save neoconservatism as a force in politics, and that's important).

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3602&page=0
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Nov, 2006 09:25 am
Blatha
Blatham, if the military colleges really educated their officer corp sufficiently on the history-culture of tribal societies, including the middle east, then why were so many officers surprised by the insurgency's guerilla tactics in Iraq? Bob Woodward's book along with several others, contains several examples of their being unprepared. Several officers warned in advance of an insurgency and were ignored by the civilian idiots in charge. George W didn't even know there was hostility between Sunni and Shiites before the war. His daddy had to ask Saudi Prince Bandar to try to educate W, who advised him to stay out of Iraq. He didn't listen.

Your example of war college classes were inadequate in my opinion. They concentrate on military control rather than really delving into how tribal societies operate. Tribal societies are radically different than western societies. It's like trying to mix oil and water. These best example of tribal societies we have in America are country clubs and neighborhood gangs. We could learn a lot from gang culture.

The western world really does not understand tribal societies and much of the third world countries. Our own histories illustrate how long and difficult evolving from tribal ethos is. We often, as a result, do more harm than good. Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter are exceptions. They do good successfully because they took the time to understand the people they want to help before they got involved. They also don't try to convert people to Christianity (or western-style democracy).

As part of the International Cooperative Movement, I learned these lessons decades ago and that knowledge has served me well throughout my long life and the many causes in which I've been involved.

BBB
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Nov, 2006 11:05 am
Army retooling itself to fight counterinsurgency wars
I wonder what's the hurry? What took them so long?---BBB

Posted on Thu, Nov. 16, 2006
Army retooling itself to fight counterinsurgency wars
By Drew Brown
McClatchy Newspapers

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - At this historic Army post on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, the Army has mounted an intense effort to train its soldiers how to fight insurgents more effectively in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

Fort Leavenworth is where all-black regiments known as "buffalo soldiers" once galloped off to police the American frontier. Later generations here studied how to defeat Soviet tank divisions. Now the United States Army Combined Arms Center has retooled the Army's leadership and training programs to focus on what motivates insurgents, the strategies and tactics they use and the cultures in which they operate.

The shift away from major combat operations to irregular warfare is one of the most significant changes in doctrine and training the Army has undertaken since World War II.

"It's a big change for our Army," said Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the Iraq war veteran who commands the Combined Arms Center. "Although we have done lots of counterinsurgency operations over the years, historically we have, as an institution, tended to refocus on major combat operations, the big battles, after each of our counterinsurgency operations was over."

The last time the U.S. Army fought a major counterinsurgency war was 40 years ago in Vietnam. The Army fought a smaller counterinsurgency war in El Salvador in the 1980s and intervened in Somalia, Haiti and the Balkans in the 1990s. But the Army's primary focus remained winning an all-out conventional war in Europe against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

Irregular war and stability operations were considered lesser tasks that required little preparation or practice.

Large-scale war remained the Army's focus even after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Since then, however, that focus has changed as it's become clear that Iraq and Afghanistan are part of a long guerrilla struggle that could last decades.

"One of the light bulbs that's come on in the last year or so is to no longer accept the notion that ... if you can do high-end major combat operations and you've got a disciplined force, then you can do this other stuff," Petraeus said. "But that's not the case. If you want to do this other stuff, then you've got to train for it."

"The greater goal is to help our Army truly be a learning organization, one that is adapting in response to the challenges we face in the long war (and) one that strives to ensure basic combat competence, but also a degree of confidence in a number of the other tasks that our soldiers are asked to perform," Petraeus said.

That means preparing soldiers for everything from high-intensity combat to peacekeeping and reconstruction. Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan can be asked to hunt down insurgents one day, guard polling stations another and rebuild schools the next.

Waging a successful counterinsurgency war means that military commanders must be prepared to carry out all those missions at once, while taking into account what political and economic effects their actions will have, officials say.

"Sometimes the best action is inaction," said Clinton J. Ancker, III, the director of the Combined Arms Center Doctrine Directorate. "It's a very difficult job balancing the application of force."

Lessons such as that are at the heart of the changes the Combined Arms Center is helping to make across the Army and other services.

A team from the Army and the Marine Corps are writing the military's first counterinsurgency field manual in 20 years. A main theme is that military action is only a means to a political end.

"This manual is as much about the next fight in the GWOT (global war on terrorism)," said Ancker, who's overseeing the project. "It's not solely about the one we're in now."

At the Army's three large training centers - Fort Irwin, Calif., Fort Polk, La. and Hohenfels, Germany - soldiers now train in mock Iraqi and Afghan villages.

The exercises involve hundreds of Arab and Afghan American role players. Soldiers are given a number of missions to accomplish while fending off improvised explosive and sniper attacks. Whether they succeed depends on the relationships they establish with the villagers.

Basic trainees at Army bases in Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma now learn how to spot and avoid roadside bombs, react to ambushes on their convoys and train with local security forces.

Hundreds of additional students enroll annually in Arabic, Pashtun and other languages at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. And any soldier can download a course in Arabic from the Army's Web site for free.

Computer specialists at Fort Leavenworth's Battle Command Knowledge System run three dozen online forums where soldiers in the field can share information.

Books on al-Qaida, militant Islam, Iraqi and Afghan history and the Muslim world are now required reading for majors and lieutenant colonels at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. There also are courses on Middle East culture and on Islam. A week is devoted to the study of irregular warfare.

"We can't make them a cultural expert in every culture that exists over there," said Russ Crumrine, a Middle East specialist who teaches there. "But the key is to get them thinking about what they need to know and how they might apply it."


The odds are that every student at the college will be serving in combat within weeks of graduation. The faculty wants to ensure that these officers will think about the cultural effects of what they do in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"No officer would ever plan an operation without studying the terrain," said John Cary, who also teaches Middle East studies. "Now, no officer would ever plan an operation without studying the human terrain."


The Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth has nine organizations involved in doctrine and leadership development, training and battle command. The center oversees field exercises at posts in California, Louisiana and Germany and training programs at another 11 schools, ranging from combat arms to military intelligence and foreign language study.

The Center also is home to the Army Command and General Staff College, a key school for mid-level officers, and the Center for Army Lessons Learned, which collects, analyzes and distributes the latest insights and observations from the battlefield. Officials describe the Center at as one of the Army's "engines of change."
----------------------

For additional information:

The Combined Arms Center: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/index.asp

The Center for Army Lessons Learned: http://call.army.mil/

Fort Leavenworth: http://www.leavenworth.army.mil/

The Army Command and General Staff College: http://www.cgsc.army.mil/

The Battle Command Knowledge System: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/functions/battlecommandsystem.asp

Defense Language Institute: http://www.dliflc.edu/
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Nov, 2006 04:24 pm
BBB
Creating a country-wide top down democracy will never succeed in Iraq because of thousands of years of history of top up tribal socities. Each tribal, or neighborhood area, is governed and protected by the top warlord or religious leader. The idea of allegience to a central government is a foreign concept to them. The only reason Saddam was able to rule was through brutality and fear and paying off his Sunni population.

Another strong man type is needed to rule from the top down. I fear for the survival fior any man that tries to achieve that. The current government is powerless to rule Iraq because we've tried to impose western style top down government on them.

The sooner we get out of Iraq and let them set up a more modern and sophisticated form of their traditional of tribal government, the better it will be for them and for us.

BBB
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 07:08 am
BBB

I'm sorry if I gave the impression I know anything at all about War College curricula. I don't. What I learned from Fiasco was that there is a wealth of individuals in the military who, however and wherever they've managed to wend their way through studies, are admirably educated in a diverse range of historical and sociological and regional matters. I suspect it is likely that they constitute a small minority and that they more often than not fall out from consensus viewpoints (thus aren't much listened to until things phuck up) but the revelation for me concerned this talent pool. Silly of me not to know it, but there's tons I don't know. Take women, for example.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 09:43 am
blatham wrote:
ehBeth

The man has a serious case of over-thinking.


maybe he was right ...

Quote:


this week's power grid article

Quote:



... that the 'tinfoil' thought might have been 'on topic' kinda makes me ill.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 11:03 am
beth

I'm sorry. I can't recall the fellow's argument now. Can you remind me?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 11:07 am
ehBeth wrote:
a giggle or a gasp ...

Quote:
<snip>
But the alternative view is just as chilling: that many, if not most, of our Washington-based pundits are even more out of it than we'd guessed. How else to explain their embrace of Karl Rove-as-tactical-genius for all these years? Either they were embarrassingly wrong or ... as Bunch hints ... maybe all too correct?

Why blow the election? Go to Bunch's blog for the full explanation, but it largely boils down to Iraq -- and the opportunity to make this a bipartisan problem as the catastrophe worsens in the months ahead.

That desire, at least, is not farfetched, even if the conspiracy theory itself is a joke. I'm reminded of a Mike Peters editorial cartoon this week that offered a new twist on Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn" principle: It showed a broken pot, labeled Iraq, with Bush pointing to a Democratic donkey and saying, "I broke it ... you own it."


hand me the aluminum foil ... link
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 11:31 am
Right. Thanks.

I really don't find the argument compelling. For one thing, on election evening and the following day, I attended to Fox and various republican supporting figures like Scarborough. No sign of suppressed happiness anywhere. Losing congresss and senate deals a serious blow to that party and administration but even moreso, the sweep of anti-conservative notions throughout the nation along with the deep cuts in republican support from latino, black, jewish and evangelical voters. They have a very big hole to dig out of now.

How about this as an alternate view. Those of us who wished this administration to lose in the manner it did were cognizant of the serious governing problems ahead. That would have been so for either party. It isn't that rove led dems into a box canyon, it is that anyone was going to end up there through evolved circumstances.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Nov, 2006 11:36 am
Blatham
blatham wrote:
Right. Thanks.

I really don't find the argument compelling. For one thing, on election evening and the following day, I attended to Fox and various republican supporting figures like Scarborough. No sign of suppressed happiness anywhere. Losing congresss and senate deals a serious blow to that party and administration but even moreso, the sweep of anti-conservative notions throughout the nation along with the deep cuts in republican support from latino, black, jewish and evangelical voters. They have a very big hole to dig out of now.

How about this as an alternate view. Those of us who wished this administration to lose in the manner it did were cognizant of the serious governing problems ahead. That would have been so for either party. It isn't that rove led dems into a box canyon, it is that anyone was going to end up there through evolved circumstances.


I agree. The Democrats are faced with no money to finance what this country desperately needs; health care for everyone. We must anticipate the damage that Bush has done to our economy and it's negative impact on trying to help the poor and middle classes to maintain a decent standard of living.

BBB
0 Replies
 
 

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