Democrats & Liberals Archives

Decisive Failure

Foreign Policy magazine tells us that a great majority of experts think that we are losing the war on terror. Why? My opinion is that the Decider, without sufficient analysis, made a macho statement about the “axis of evil” and shortly thereafter, with trumped-up “intelligence,” attacked the first nation on his axis: Iraq. Iran took umbrage, and teased us with a nuclear program. North Korea was more forthright. It built nuclear weapons and tested a few guided missiles.

Foreign Policy magazine surveyed 116 foreign policy experts and this is what it reports:

"Despite today’s highly politicized national security environment, the index results show striking consensus across political party lines. A bipartisan majority (84 percent) of the index’s experts say the United States is not winning the war on terror. Eighty-six percent of the index’s experts see a world today that is growing more dangerous for Americans. Overall, they agree that the U.S. government is falling short in its homeland security efforts. More than 8 in 10 expect an attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade."

We were attacked by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan so the Decider insisted that we were in imminent danger from Iraq. No analysis was needed for this; he just knew. We attacked and won. This was not good enough, so the Decider got our troops to stay the course until Iraqis began to hate us.

The next member of the axis of evil, Iran, got worried. So it started work on a nuclear project. Nobody knows whether it's a weapon system or not. But it is suspicious enough to goad our Decider. For the past few months, we have been exercising diplomacy - a hard-edged diplomacy, but diplomacy nevertheless.

The last member of the axis of evil, North Korea, was belligerent from the start. It announced it had nuclear weapons. U.S. did not pay much attention. So it tested a few missiles, at least one, it said, that could reach American territory. Amazingly, this did not produce much excitement, as you can see from this statement by White House press secretary Tony Snow:

"This is not a U.S.-North Korea matter and we're not going to let the leader of North Korea transform it into that."

Unbelievable! If I had to rate threats to America from the 3 in the axis, at the time the Decider named the axis, I would have rated Iraq as the least threatening and North Korea as the most threatenng. What did the Decider do? He attacked Iraq and now he has no idea what to do about North Korea.

Maybe China will help us out, you hear American officials saying. Is this the same as asking for permission to defend America? The Decider has made it clear that America never asks permission to work for its self defense. Maybe this is a special case. After all, North Korea already has nuclear bombs.

It's time for America to depend more on the analysis of foreign affairs experts and the use of diplomacy. Let's get out of Iraq, come up with a grand bargain with Iran, and then get all countries on board to suffocate the North Korean regime.

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 5, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #165249


Posted by: David S at July 6, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #165250

Good post, Paul. And we also might want to re-look at who we allow to go into these countries. As we see more and more young people being allowed in the military with psychological issues which lead to impulsivility, destructive behavior, anti-social behavior, we are seeing our entire reputation be based on the torture of prisoners, the rape and murder of civilians and the cover up and possible whistle-blowing consequences for those who are upset by this kind of behavior. How can we be surprised by this kind of outrageous behavior when the retoric at the top labels those in Iraq as “evil” “inhuman” “not worthy of Geneva convention rules” “guilty until proven otherwise,”. AND, when we place the most vulnerable among us—-the young men and women with not much training beforehand, who are inexperienced, often the drop-outs and anti-social or most isolated and depressed in society who join the military for structure and support and ask them to maintain civilized behavior when their leaders scream for “revenge” and the culture into which they are dropped is alien and unfriendly and strange to them. Add to this the fact that the brain of a healthy 26 year old male and younger is immature and prone to impulsive and deviant behavior (just ask any insurance company) and you have a situation waiting to become a disaster.
These issues need to be resolved diplomatically without the theatrics and drama and rhetoric of the hysterical and extreme. And, I agree, North Korea should have been visited and conversations begun when Bush came to office, instead of ignoring them. When he came to office, south and north korea had started family visits from both sides. If we had stayed the course with that, things might be very very different today. Or not—who knows. And, of course, North Korea has no oil. did i forget to remind us all of that?

Posted by: judge at July 6, 2006 3:17 PM
Comment #165264

Give me a freaking break. The Iranians started their nuke program because we invaded Iraq? Nobody knows if its a weapons system or not? You want to come up with a grand bargain with Iran?

Just what do you think would make them happy?? Maybe we eliminate our military? Maybe help them wipe Israel off the map? The flaw in your thinking is that you seem to feel that the leaders of these countries are nice people who want peace if only the US wan’t so imperialistic. Why in the world do you want to pay off these dictators so that they won’t develope nukes? What is the price and how do you keep it from sky rocketing over time? This attitude just seems so similar to liberal views prior to WWII.

Posted by: Carnak at July 6, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #165276


I sense some logical dissonance here.

Are you sure that the war on terror is not in fact a decisive success?

Why? Well, think about it Paul, according to your usual sources it was Bush’s goal to create more terror! If then you are saying that he succeeded in that then how can you say the war is a failure?

Posted by: esimonson at July 6, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #165292

Yep, Bush’s new found penchant for diplomacy is a direct result of his invasion of Iraq, leaving our country militarily unable to engage any other threats requiring military manpower.

It won’t be long before Bolton’s actions designed to bully and piss off the other nation’s of the world will be reconsidered and he announces he is “voluntarily” stepping down for health reasons. Diplomacy is what is needed. But we now have the wrong people in the wrong places to effect that diplomacy we now so desperately need. Not even Condi Rice is able to get the Chinese and Russians to join us in a stern stance against N. Korea.

“Bring it On” Bush got his wish, and they are. “Bringing it on, and spreading it heavy”. It’s lonely at the top, they say. But, the last 5 years of aging in Bush’s face gives that phrase new depth and meaning. Could he be following a Ken Lay path toward averting his inevitable confrontation with the consequences of his actions? I wouldn’t want to be GW Bush for all the dollars in the world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #165295

young people being allowed in the military with psychological issues

Their commander in chief is the one with the biggest problem, extreme stupidity.

Korea is a very small country, there is not much that we could do there that would not cause problems on both sides of the DMZ.

This is the 2nd Punic war against Iraq, also the 2nd Bush Oil War.

Posted by: ohrealy at July 6, 2006 7:30 PM
Comment #165297

Militarily unable to engage any other threats? Where did you get that info from? Diplomacy don’t work. It’s been tried? Maybe you David should go over and try the diplomacy bit.

Posted by: RAK at July 6, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #165307

Condi is getting the big bucks for that, RAK. I would do a far better job than Bush, but, Bush is wisely refusing face to face negotiations. A very wise choice for a man who can’t think on his feet without note cards, or hours spent in rote memorization.

Even the former RNC chair Ed, stated today that Bush has no ground force military options in Iran and N. Korea as long as we are tied down in Iraq. So, be careful who you aim that criticism at, it could end up hitting folks you didn’t intend.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #165313

If you believed that RNC chair ed then you believe it snowed in Hawaii yesterday. There are over 1 million strong in our armed forces. We only have about 15% of them tied up in Iraq and Afganistan. Maybe you forgot about our naval and air force personnell who are not on the ground. The only problem we have today in fighting a war is that the politicians won’t let the military do their job. If they did the war in Iraq wouldn’t have lasted more than a Year. Korea and Viet Nam were prime examples of political interfearance.

Posted by: RAK at July 6, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #165319

Rak: The war in Iraq was over in what, two months. It’s the peace that we are having all the trouble with. For some unknown reason, the people of Iraq won’t prostrate themselves facing Washington D.C. and praise George Bush as their savior.

” The only problem we have today in fighting a war is that the politicians won’t let the military do their job.” You can’t have it both ways Rak. Either it is as Bush says, “the generals are running the war”, or the politicians are running the war. Which is it?

Posted by: jlw at July 6, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #165323

Yes it was peace we were having trouble with in Viet Nam. Viet Cong kept attacking we keept fighting. Same as Iraq.

Posted by: RAK at July 6, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #165324

Hey now, the military’s in great shape:

“A diversion of dollars to help fight the war in Iraq has helped create a $530 million shortfall for Army posts at home and abroad, leaving some unable to pay utility bills or even cut the grass.”

Who said the Republicans didn’t know how to budget?


Posted by: KansasDem at July 6, 2006 10:05 PM
Comment #165327

RAK: Viet Nam and Iraq are more similar than many want to admit. If the recomendations of the general in charge of the military before the Iraq war began had been followed, Iraq would be a totally different place today. Bush and especially Cheney and Rumsfeld new how to do it better, cheaper and faster. Today we are seeing the results of their plan.

Posted by: jlw at July 6, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #165328

Seems to me when I was stationed in Norfolk,Va. the navy base there was self sufficent meaning they had their own power plant on base and sailors that were on shore duty cut the grass on base. Don’t you think maybe the army ought to look into doing the same.

Posted by: RAK at July 6, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #165330

RAK, I would suggest brushing up on Pentagon News. Our troops are deployed all over the world. While repositioning has been going on for a few years, there are places in the world where it is not prudent to let our guard down. S. Korea for example.

And if you read carefully, you will see that it is ground troops we are talking about. The Fly and Swim boys, are great for softening up landing zones, but, Iraq prevents us from having forces to land on the ground.

Now, if you want to reinstate the draft, or, pull troops out of Europe and Asia, write your Congress persons. But, the Pentagon will tell them where to get off if they think we are going to vacate the Asian theatre with China building its military and Japan advancing its. There are these places like Indonesia and Malaysia and Taiwan that are of extreme economic importance to the American economy. Hence, the Pentagon and Rummie will tell you where to get off if you suggest we pull our troops from there.

Gotta get educated globally to get a clear picture of just how strapped our military is at the moment. Another tell tale sign is the $40,000 recruitment bonues. At a time of record deficits and national debt an albatross around the Republican Party’s neck, I can assure you they wouldn’t be handing those sign up bonuses out if they were not desperate for recruits.

Big Picture, RAK. Step back and get the big picture. It is truly enlightening. Patroitism is nothing without strategic deployment and tactics. Our troops are stretched very thin. And everyone from the Pentagon down to the grunt serving a 3rd or 4th tour in Iraq knows it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #165336

BTW, 1/3 of our troops coming home from Iraq are suffering Post traumatic stress syndrome. Which in turns leads to some uncontrolled and undisciplined behavior in Iraq which hurts our efforts there, like raping women and murdering their entire family. There are six such investigations now underway and these stories are big, big news in Arabic in Iraq.

These are some of the price that is paid when one is militarily ill-equipped for the mission at hand, in this case the mission is nation building, and our manpower shortage could not be more dramatic for such a monumental task, which requires first and foremost, control of the border, and all paths of movement in Iraq. Combined Iraqi and Coalition forces aren’t even sufficient for that task.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #165345

RAK: Politicians are supposed to be in charge of the military or at least that what it says in the Constitution. The idea was that way we would get into fewer wars,that and the military would have a harder time taking over the government. The problem lies inpoliticians getting us into stupid wars. At least with poiiticians we get a chance to fire them every once in awhile,not always at the ballot box. That is what happend to Johnson for getting us bigtime into Vietnam and Nixon for keeping us there. That is also what will happen to GWB and his handlers. I just hope we have the gumption to clean house thourghly.

Posted by: BillS at July 6, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #165359

I wish there had been an enlistment bonus in 1969. All I got was $78 per month and $87 per month after completing basic training.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2006 1:05 AM
Comment #165366

Just one problem with suffocating North Korea:China. The Chinese do not want a wave of refugees pouring over their border, an inevitable outcome of a collapse in the North Korean government. Other than that, I agree.

Posted by: Silima at July 7, 2006 2:05 AM
Comment #165382

Silma: I think that you have made an excellent observance of the situation. The Chinese already have a problem with refugees fleeing to China. Possibly the best solution to the North Korean problem would be to ignore their leader as much as possible while at the same time doing what we can to influence their military leaders that the U.S. will do all it can to improve the lives of their people. The Chinese like having a thorn like the North Koreans to poke us with. If we can convince them that it is in everyones best interest that they help us with the N.K. generals we could possibly achieve results. We and others nations have cut off food aid to the north because much of it was not reaching the people that desperately need it. If we were to continue food aid along with a message to the generals, through the Chinese, that we are doing it for them and their people rather than for Kim, it just might work. If we could close all the Walmart stores for one day, we might get the cooperation we need from the Chinese. It will be up to the president to manage the Waltons. He has the most influence with them.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2006 8:53 AM
Comment #165396

It’s time for America to depend more on the analysis of foreign affairs experts and the use of diplomacy. Let’s get out of Iraq, come up with a grand bargain with Iran, and then get all countries on board to suffocate the North Korean regime.
Posted by Paul Siegel at July 5, 2006 09:48 PM

Oh my goodness, diplomacy and foreign affairs experts! That sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it?

You will excuse me if I have some doubts about al Queda and the rest of their ilk leaving us alone when we tuck tail and run from Iraq - as so many foreign affairs experts recommend.

You will also please excuse me if I have some doubts about Iran and N Korea being swayed by diplomacy - as so many foreign affairs experts contend.

While you may believe what you say, I think you have a mapped sure course for the future ruin of this society.

Posted by: Seminole 6 at July 7, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #165398

I wish there had been an enlistment bonus in 1969. All I got was $78 per month and $87 per month after completing basic training.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2006 01:05 AM

So right jlw. I tell people I was paid less than 100 a month when I was drafted (1967)and they think I am crazy. The only bonuses back then were cheap smokes, cheap booze and a DI who would make you a soldier.

Posted by: Seminole 6 at July 7, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #165547

Just a brief note. The US soldier who is said to have raped a “woman” did not, if guilty as charged rape a “woman” but rather a child. The girl was only fifteen. Being raped does not make you an adult. Call a spade a spade please.

Posted by: abhcoide at July 7, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #165552

Yea politicians get us into the wars. But like I said let the military do their job in cleaning up some stupid politicians mess.

Posted by: RAK at July 7, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #165763

Tooth Fairy Busted In Terrorist Plot

Late yesterday Agents of the FBI announced a gang of terrorists led by the notorious Tooth Fairy had been exposed in a fiendish plot to blow up the Holland Tunnel. Good intelligence uncovered this plot despite the fact that none of the gang was in the United States or except for the Tooth Fairy had ever even been to the US. Reports show the most reliable info came from interrogation techniques using water therapy in an undisclosed third world country. The techniques of water therapy are so reliable that it bears little further mention.
Basically the concept was developed to catch and apprehend witches during The Middle Ages. The suspect is strapped to a long plank and suspended horizontally over a deep vat of water. The questioner or interrogator asks them what they know and if they lie or say nothing, they are dunked till they nearly drown. This techniques and been thoroughly modernized by the Bush Administration. In its old technique if the witches were suspended into the water for a longer period that was humanly possible to keep them from drowning and they in fact lived, they were burned at the stake. This crude method literally burned up too many terrorists so now the terrorists are kept around for further questioning and as new plots are revealed, they are brought back to the water for more therapy and further intelligence.
We think they have been in contact with foreign elements of Al Qaeda all over the globe said field agents speaking under deep cover from the office of Karl Rove. They want nothing less than to create mass panic and a feeling of fear to undermine the false sense of security enjoyed by most Americans who are only several terrorist plots away from the fall elections. The tricky thing is these clever fanatics usually hide behind a total lack of evidence, but we know how to outwit them. Stay tuned for further breaking news on this the network that presents only fair and biased coverage of the news that’s fit to report.


Posted by: Thomas Love at July 8, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #166281

“The Chinese like having a thorn like the North Koreans to poke us with.”

It’s actually much more complicated than that. South-Korea is a US ally, while North-Korea obviously isn’t: no diplomatic relations, no economic ties, etc.

In the meantime SK and NK are learning to get along, with an eventual goal of unification of some sort to one Korea. SK’s “Sunshine Policy” towards NK is a clear example. Thousands of NKs are allowed to work in special trade zones in SK while NK tourist hotspots are reachable for SKs, etc.

Now, the US doesn’t really control that process, as a large majority of SK do not believe that NK would ever intend to harm them and hence openly support this Sunshine Policy.

China obviously loves this… as long as North-Korea remains an independent buffer between SK and China or as long as such a unification process does not create a situation where the whole Korean peninsula might become controlled/influenced by “large foreign powers”.

Where does this put us now?

Well, for one thing China will never ever succumb to having a U.S.-friendly puppet regime installed in Pyongyang. Ever! This would amount to the beginning of the end for China as a communist party-controlled state. Beijing, to say the least, will move a long way to not make that happen. This can only be the objective of U.S. foreign policy strategists… as long as its our way. Problem is China already has extreme leverage through its trade balance with the U.S. It produces on the cheap which keeps inflation at bay in the U.S. and has amassed $ gazillions in doing so, etc.

Japan’s hardliners need a reason to overcome the “problem” of having a pacifist constitution, hence not being able to engage in “pre-emptive national defense” cfr. the administration’s doctrine. In theory as well as in practice, U.S. forces can come “to the rescue” but Japan’s foces would not be able to return the favour. Therefore these hardliners will take every opportunity to stir in the NK-pot and drive things further to the edge. The U.S. administration doesn’t seem to mind, as long as Japan speaks the same lingo. Problem is Sino-Japan relations are not exactly friendly, nor are Korean(in general) views of Japanese foreign policy. And this goes a lot further than just skirmishing over sea borders and “misinterpreting” Japan’s WOII intrusions into the Asian mainland.

RESULT: A geopolitical quagmire. You know where it begins, but no one knows how it will turn out in the end. Just don’t bet on the regime change.

Posted by: Josh Grant at July 10, 2006 9:30 AM
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