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Bush Iraq Strategy: Blame The Military

In advance of unveiling President Bush’s latest Iraq strategy, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley gave the New York Times the administration’s version of events in Iraq up to now. Apparently, everything that’s gone wrong so far was the result of “General Casey’s strategy.”

Over the past 12 months, as optimism collided with reality, Mr. Bush increasingly found himself uneasy with General Casey’s strategy. And now, as the image of Saddam Hussein at the gallows recedes, Mr. Bush seems all but certain not only to reverse the strategy that General Casey championed, but also to accelerate the general’s departure from Iraq, according to senior military officials.

To believe this scapegoating you have to forget that General Casey took charge in Iraq more than a year after the invasion, well after the start of post-war violence. You have to forget that victory in Iraq must be a political victory and not a military victory -- Iraqi's must make tough political compromises to create a united Iraqi nation. You have to forget that the US military's job was essentially finished way back in 2003.

It was President Bush who decided to put the US military in charge of nation building in Iraq, despite having earlier rejected nation building as a military role. It was President Bush who decided that Iraqi security forces should be trained by multinational corporations rather than US Special Forces teams who are specifically trained to do the job.

It was President Bush who rejected the UN's offer of tens of thousands of international peacekeeping troops and billions of dollars in international aid back when the UN was ready to assume responsibility for post-war Iraq.

The fact is, President Bush is the Commander in Chief. President Bush made or Ok'd every bad decision from disbanding the Iraqi army to holding elections before Iraq had the democratic institutions necessary to make them meaningful. For President Bush to now blame the military for all the bad policy decisions and poor leadership is absolutely shameful -- but not surprising.

Posted by American Pundit at January 3, 2007 2:17 AM
Comments
Comment #201259

A.P., it is illogical for Bush to claim to be the Commander in Chief of our military forces AND blame the generals for what really amounts to Bush’s wrong decision to invade Iraq in the first place.

The Generals did not make the decision to invade Iraq. The Commander in Chief did. Hence, everything that ensues from that decision has only one person responsible, the President. There isn’t a shred of Harry Truman (the buck stops here) in GW Bush.

Bush is desperately seeking vindication from one of the gravest and most grievously wrong decisions of any President since Viet Nam. He will blame anyone, spend any soldier’s life or limbs, if it means he can rationalize his decision to invade was the right one.

He simply must (in his own mind) keep this Iraq war going under American auspices until his term in office is over. Only then, can he say, when the new President pulls out of Iraq, that it is the new President’s fault we were not victorious in Iraq.

It really is that simple and no other explanation makes sense anymore. There is no scapegoat until a new president is elected, and this pitiful excuse of a man and President damn well knows it.

What a cowardly human being he is, to shrink from the responsibility of his own decisions in this immoral, bloody, and deadly manner.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2007 6:20 AM
Comment #201263

The man is do for a serious crash. The military is starting to realize this guy is not on their side and the results will be ……not good.
He’s a sick man and our soldiers and our country are paying the price.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 3, 2007 8:02 AM
Comment #201265

This will certainly alienate the military even further. Blaming his own generals. The problem is that blame is like flypaper. You peel it off one hand to find it stuck to the other. The self-protective instinct of this administration does not endear itself to the people (which practically includes virtually all of America at this point) that the blame has been shoved off on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2007 8:21 AM
Comment #201266

Oh and also Bush was very much for Casey while he was against him, it seems.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2007 8:24 AM
Comment #201271

David,
Yes, indeed! As ex-Navy, I learned early in my service that officers are responsible for (1) taking care of those under their command, and (2) taking responsiblity for screw ups. Our present CinC appears to be incapable of doing either one.

First, the war began with insufficient troops or supplies. Beginning a battle without the needed resources practically insures high and unncecssary casualty rates. Second, there was apparently no plan for after Saddam’s ouster or capture. Third, no one in the command loop had the historical perspective necessary to anticipate the rise of an insurgency.

If we look at the present situation, we find that most of the violence is between Muslim factions. With the ouster of Saddam, there was a power vacuum that the U.S could not fill. So,militant Muslims from outside Iraq came in and started the fighting between Shia and Sunni. Our presence per se is not the cause of the violence, but it does give the militants a target for propoganda purposes.

If we do pull out, the violence will not stop, in fact it may escalate. But, if we do leave, it may well expose the insurgents for what they really are, a bunch of terroristic, opportunistic, power hungry thugs.

Posted by: John Back at January 3, 2007 10:51 AM
Comment #201275

It is amazing how one can read bias into an article and get what they want to see and hear.

Where is the objectivity?

The main article does not say what you are spouting off with. You are “reading into” this thing what you want to believe.

Posted by: Cliff at January 3, 2007 11:15 AM
Comment #201287

Cliff-
The article doesn’t say it, but here’s the thing: how the hell does the Bush administration know about what this guy is doing all along, with this country’s security and wellbeing on the line, and not do something for two years?

This has happened before. The CIA, after getting browbeat, bypassed, disregarded, and used to give legitimacy to our thin case gets scapegoated for the erroneous conclusions that were practically forced down their throats.

And of course, you have Colin Powell, who being a good, loyal soldier, falls in line with his boss hand helps him support the run up to war, only to be permanently tarred and feathered with by being the one who gives the world the house of cards that was our case for war.

This is what happens with the Bush administration: They demand your utmost loyalty, they micromanage you into the dirt, retaliate if you make a fuss or tell people the truth, and then, if you’ve been a good soldier, and they have some nagging problem that’s pretty much their fault, you get to take the fall, you get to take the blame.

When Republicans said they were going to run the country like a business, they weren’t kidding. Unfortunately, they ran it like Enron.

Saying-
The real enemies of this country are the people who slammed two jets into the twin towers. We Democrats understand this, and have never wavered from thtat opinion. If Bush had stuck to going after people who were really in league with al-Qaeda, we’d be a lot better off.

As for your suggestion about nukes? Sure, kill millions of people who just had the bad luck to live under shitty leaders. That will solve ALL our problems. Just like it would have solved all our problems with Russia and the Soviet Bloc. I mean, we might have won the Cold War if it weren’t for those damn Democrats and Media Liberals!

Wait, we did win. And no, it didn’t require us to nuke the places. I guess that means peaceful means, a “liberal” media, and having tons of Democrats and liberals who don’t agree with you doesn’t mean we’re all doomed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2007 12:04 PM
Comment #201290

I disagree that the elections were premature. To the contrary. They were not soon enough. They should have occured much sooner. The mistake was Bush/Bremer that delayed them until state run institutions could be privatized(sold off to cronies) according to the Neo-Con dream manuel. This gave the insurgency time and reason to grow.

Posted by: BillS at January 3, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #201294

Saying, Why is the right wingers start calling names when presented with facts that dont support their failed idealogy? Instead of a sound rebuttal all you have done is whined about the liberals. Instead of nuking the liberals why not try listening to them for a change. After all its pretty obvious you been listening to the wrong people for some time now.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 3, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #201295

The comment by Saying could easily pass as a Republican terrorist’s.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2007 12:35 PM
Comment #201308

General Casey, the guy that did everything Bush wanted, now is in disgrace with Bush. Why? Bush is looking for a fall guy. So he plans to get rid of Casey - who is scheduled to retire next summer.

This is called compassionate conservatism.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at January 3, 2007 2:06 PM
Comment #201311

saying-
You’re not making arguments, you’re making excuses as to why they’re not necessary.

You excuse not addressing Bush’s many mistakes by accusing us of blaming him for everything, despite the rather specified and documented nature of the things he’s done.

You say wimps don’t win wars, that those who are willing to die win wars, rather than acknowledge that the other side might have other reasons for opposing the course of the war than being timid. You suggest that we’re indecisive, unwilling to commit to anything, and even imply at the end that we’d willing join the enemy.

All of which, of course allows you to implicitly crow about what strong, decisive, committed virtuous and otherwise magnificent creatures Republicans and Bush supporters are, yourself included.

You’re still screwing things up. Everybody’s telling you, after seeing so many things done wrong, that this next act will just make things worse. But being magnificent creatures, of course, you don’t need to listen to us, much less justify your strategy on anything else than the fact that the best of America (you and yours, of course) will not back down in the face of tyranny, terrorists or whatever else.

Words don’t kill people, people kill people, especially when other people fail to provide security and ensure law and order. You can praise your strength to the high heavens, congratulate yourself on being a magnificent creature, but real strength is in what you do, and what you can do, and by that measure, Bush has left us badly weakened.

Now you can berate us up and down the street about how we fail to see the greatness of your leaders, your plans, and your culture, but that doesn’t change the fact that your people have screwed things up, that they’ve let a serious problem get out of control, and now are oh-so-boldly looking to blame everybody else for it.

You will know the tree by its fruits. Given the bitter products of this administration, loyal Americans have much reason to find fault with Bush and the rest.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2007 2:11 PM
Comment #201372

AP,

Great article. I’ve just been searching for an intelligent comment.

How’s this:

Not surprised, but depressed!

This “surge” is almost inevitable, and it’s downright criminal given the repeated and extended deployments our troops are facing.

We must find a way to stop this madness!

I actually support reinstating the draft, but I know that won’t fly.

The Bush administration says that the Biden-Gelb plan is a “non-starter”, the ISG report obviously didn’t suit Bush & Co. so here we go………….. more troops!

Has anyone told GW that we’re already stretched to the limit? You bet they have. HE DOESN’T CARE.

He’s a sociopath. He cares only about his legacy and he’d rather end all life on this planet than admit he was wrong.

There’s only one solution to this. Bush must be removed from power. Whatever it takes he must be legally removed from power.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 3, 2007 8:08 PM
Comment #201375
In your life span you will have to pick a side and pick a cause…will you be wearing a turban when its time to choose?

Yes, I can see the terrorist invasion fleet loading up now. The Arab stealth bombers and aircraft carriers are already on their way. The mighty Arab war machine is on the march…

Please. At what point did Americans become such wussies?

Terrorists aren’t going to destroy America. America will be brought down by well-meaning people who are irrationally afraid of terrorists — and thank you, President Bush, for helping that along with all the fear mongering.

In any case, none of that has anything to do with Iraq or President Bush’s scapegoating of the military. “General Casey’s strategy” my ass…

KansasDem, I’d support a draft as well if it meant Bush could send another 200,000 troops to Iraq tomorrow — but neither of those things are going to happen. And, frankly, the time for that was five years ago.

I’m waiting to hear the President’s plan. If he can make a good case that a few thousand more troops will bring complete victory, then I’m all for it. But it’d damned well better be part of a political solution — facilitating a partition, for example. Just more of the same BS isn’t going to cut it.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 3, 2007 8:44 PM
Comment #201385

AP, that plan would also have to state how our troops would prevent the insurgents from disappearing into the woodwork, until we draw down, as well. For that is the most likely outcome of putting as many as 7 thousand more combat troops in Baghdad (assuming a rear support of 2 for every one combat soldier.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #201392

AP,

“If he can make a good case that a few thousand more troops will bring complete victory, then I’m all for it.”

How long have you and I and SD and others here asked for more troops?
If the boots on the ground cannot quell the violence, how could adding few thousand more make any difference at all?

I too, wait with baited breath for a plan, any plan, that would lead to victory.

I think that train, however, has left the station.

Posted by: Rocky at January 3, 2007 9:54 PM
Comment #201402

Suppose we actually implemented a plan that had an opportunity to succeed?

Suppose Bush, with the JCS standing behind him, announced that for troops will be trained for a peacekeeping mission; that they will undergo one year of immersion training in Arabic language and Iraqi culture, be rotated in at a rate of 5,000 per month, who will then implement a “train the trainer approach” among Iraqis; one year boot camps for a very highly compensated Iraqi military, with secure base housing & facilities for their families.

Suppose we actually came up with a plan!

Success can only be possible when security is established. There is no chance- none- of foreign troops, who do not speak the language or understand the culture, ever being anything other than an enemy.

That is why Shia Iraqis have rejected the peaceful admonitions of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and favored the Sadrists. Unlike Sistani, the Sadrists offer security through their militias. Of course, there are other militias offering security, but the Sadrists reject all foreigners, both Iranians and Americans. Alone among the Shias, the Sadrists are untainted by association & collaboration with foreigners.

Sistani asked the Sadrists to return to the Iraqi government. They have withdrawn, and without them, the Iraqi parliament cannot form a quorem. The Parliament has not met in over a month, and despite the please of Sistani, the Sadrists have made their condition for participation overt: they will return to the government only when foreigners leave Iraq.

Putting more US troops into Iraq sets us up for the big showdown with al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army. They are poorly trained & poorly equipped, but they are fervent, committed, and seem to represent the majority of Shias…

Yes, the train has left the station, and we are staying the course & on track & in for a very nasty ride.

By the way, Casey was chosen in the first place because he always had the reputation of being a team player. Now it is time to take one for the “team.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 3, 2007 11:51 PM
Comment #201415

saying:

Ithink its time to bring the troops home and fight and exterminate the real enemies of this Country The News Media and the Liberal Democrats.Intern these folks to California Give the North Korean Leader one Nuke only if he uses it on California then Nuke North Korea and Iran and all will be Swell!

Watchblog Manager, I thought that:

you may not criticize categories of people who visit and participate at WatchBlog (e.g. All Democrats are commies or, All Republicans are idiots). To be in compliance, critique of what other WatchBlog participants say, must be aimed at the points being made in their content.

Trolling and flame baiting are NOT acceptable. This means comments whose primary effect is to provoke hostility or anger in other participants at WatchBlog are not tolerated.

AP, good article.
phx8, spot on.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 4, 2007 3:11 AM
Comment #201785

My understanding of the Iraq war is as follows.

We went into Iraq to toss down the Iraq military fighting a convential war against a conventional army. Given that it was the worlds fourth or fifth largets army, it was truely magnificent how quickly our troops defeated Saddam.

After that, the insurgancy arose. It never would have risen if we had put 60 thousands more troops on patrol in baghadad and other hot spots. but we didn’t and so an insurgancy developed.

WE never fought the insurgancy as an insrugancy. From beginning to end we would kick insurgants out, stand up Iraqi troops, and watch the insurgants filter back in. Iraqi miltitary is now capable of fighting an insurgancy. Not now, not any time soon.

We have wasted years screwing up, not doing what needs to be done. We should have gone into Baghdad, blasted the insurgants out as we have done before, and then left our troops on the ground day and night. From there the public learns they have security. Reconstrutction is then possible and a political solution is then possible.

Under present circumstance a political solution is most likely NOT possible. We wasted too much time trying to get a poltical solution which is not the way to defeat an insurgancy.

Are we now willing to send in a massive surge that has to stay for years to defeat the insurgancy and provide the security for the Iraqi people to build a new nation? Several years ago we had that political will.

But years of left wing assult on the public morale and years of losses have erroded the public will. Defeat would be catstrophic in my opinon. The entire middle east could eventualy drop into the hands of radical islamic control. Globally we can see all sorts of terrible possibilites.

In my opinion, the Liberals with their war against the public morale and the terorrists and insurgants have essentially worked together to nearly defeat the US. Also, incomptence in leadership of the war.

If we discover comptence now, do we have the will to win? I suspect not. I suspect this will be the “mother of all defeats”. The defeat dems look back on with pride and use to blame republicans for all future radical islamic vitories that stem from it…and which the left actually suppport and rejoyce in.

Posted by: Stephen at January 6, 2007 6:58 PM
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