Devastating: Woodward’s new book on Bush and Iraq

posted at 1:42 pm on September 29, 2006 by Allahpundit

There’s no other way to describe it. Read the synopses at the Times and, especially, the Daily News. Michael Yon told me a few months ago we’re very close to losing the war. It’s not hard to see why.

John Cole asks a good question. I’m not sure what my answer would be, frankly.

The News actually has a second article about the book devoted to the “urgent meeting” Tenet and Cofer Black had with Condi Rice in July 2001 about their fears of an impending attack and a request for $500 million to go in and get Bin Laden ASAP. Some of the rhetoric is absurd, particularly coming from “Slam Dunk” George–

Black, looking back at the July 10, 2001, meeting with Rice, concludes, “The only thing we didn’t do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her [Rice's] head.”…

The book claims that two weeks before the July meeting with Rice, Tenet told Richard Clarke, the National Security Council’s counterterrorism director, of his gut feeling about a likely attack.

“It’s my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one,” the book quotes Tenet as telling Clarke.

–but score-settling and face-saving motives aside, there’s surely some truth to it.

I’m filled with … what’s the word I’m looking for? Ah yes: heart-ache.

Update: Gossipy electioneering from cover to cover, pronounces Moran.

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I’m sure Mr. Woodward is already working on his next book, due to be published in September 2008….

How predictable.

Dave Shay on September 29, 2006 at 1:52 PM

How can anyone trust anything Woodward has to say. I don’t care what he has written. We are NOT CLOSE TO LOSING. This type of defeatism gives aid and comfort to the enemy. I don’t care if you are p.o.ed at what I am saying. Rumsfeld is doing a good job, the news out of Iraq is not nearly as bad as the LSM makes it out to be and Woodward is a hack who still is out to try to recapture the relevance he had during Watergate. He makes up facts out of whole cloth. Shame on you for giving this liar any credence.

marianpaul on September 29, 2006 at 1:52 PM

We simply cannot afford to lose this war, we need to go forward and do things better,for sure,but the stakes are much too high at this point.

bbz123 on September 29, 2006 at 1:53 PM

I guess this hurts Bush’s chances at getting re-elected in 2008..

Woodward was probably tired of not getting invited to the DC parties so he had to write some Bush hate to set things straight.

madmonaco on September 29, 2006 at 1:54 PM

If I get even one comment in this thread — from someone other than honora or GregH, I mean — that addresses the substance of the allegations, I’ll consider it a moral victory.

Bear in mind, there are plenty of other books out there that corroborate the larger points of this one. Cobra II, Assassin’s Gate, etc.

Allahpundit on September 29, 2006 at 1:54 PM

I agree with Commisar more than Cole–I’m afraid even given what we had been told or couldn’t have been expected to know at the time, we should have known better. It’s not just the administration’s on-site failings, it’s the initial analysis: chop of the wicked head keeping the people down, and the people will pretty much set up their own country. That assumption is what led to this denial Woodward is describing.

p.s. on that: to some extent, I can’t help but think Woodward is piling it on, having been stung during the Plame thing for not exposing the bad guys or whatever, being called a Cheney lackey. His earlier books were so much less damning.

But still.

Alex K on September 29, 2006 at 1:56 PM

This “book” coming out less than two months from the election is a shallow attempt by the LSM and its ilk to influence the election and it will fall flat on its face as all these attempts do. How many real people read a Woodward book. A lot less than you think.

marianpaul on September 29, 2006 at 1:56 PM

Hey, it took me a while to write it up, Allah! And I can’t get too in to the substance cause it simply sounds pretty right on to me…

Alex K on September 29, 2006 at 1:57 PM

This is all ridiculous… shitty conditions on the ground don’t mean “wrong war”. One can make an argument about Rummy, but that’s another story… the left and the media have been fighting against us in this war from the beginning and you can’t argue that they haven’t helped and emboldened the enemy.

But here’s the point, everyone ESPECIALLY all top Dems (who call Bush a liar) argued that the WMDs were there for over a decade right up to the war. If we hadn’t gone, and the stuff got in the hands of terrorists, made it here and killed thousands of people, what would we all say? What would the left and the media say? “IMPEACH BUSH!” I’m not even going to elaborate on WMDs and how I am of the group that believes they were there, and that some still may be. But the point is, if I go to the grocery store because I’m out of food, but get killed in a car accident on the way there, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have gone to the store.

But if we’re talking about tactics, then I might agree that we’re screwing the whole thing up. There are just too many uncivilized savages over there. I’m not advocating doing this and it no one could or would ever do it, but the only way to not be stuck in this situation and others in the future, would be to build parking lots, not nations. Does anyone think that there was another way to deal with Iraq that wouldn’t have turned in to the terrorist magnet it is? I know a liberal would say “wrong war” or “Saddam was contained” to which I say, see above (regarding the over a decade of WMD arguing from top Dems, etc. Couldn’t risk it)

But as long as we’re playing Mr. Nice guy war, Iraq is what war is going to look like, and why we’re seeing renewed problems in Iraq. Shit, we had the opportunity to take out over 100 Taliban the other day but chose not to because they were at a funeral!!! How many innocents and American troops will die as a result of that bitch decision? How many have died as a result of trying to be “sensitive” to Muslim culture and religious practices, etc.?

Everyone can criticize mismanagement all they want, but if they don’t have the will to get nasty against these people, then they need to stfu.

RightWinged on September 29, 2006 at 2:12 PM

Ok AP, I’ll tackle them by saying that I’m absolutely fed up with the leadership of this country. That’s BOTH sides.

However heaping blame upon Clinton and Bush is too easy. The real culprits are the voters that keep putting morons like this into office. We’ve let our two parties divide us from each other and common sense. We worry so much about who can be blamed for 9-11, Homeland Security, Katrina, Social Security’s imminent collapse, illegal immigration, gas prices, health care, etc that our elected officials have all but stopped trying to apply solutions to any of them. What the heck, if you can just blame the people on the other side of the aisle then you don’t have to come up with any ideas to solve anything.

Yet, here we are at election time again and most people are going to trot out there to vote for whatever the “lesser evil” is in their eyes. I have news for you folks, “lesser evil” is still evil.

I’m a conservative christian and not a Republican (or Democrat) because the Republicans are neither conservatives nor christians as far as I can tell. Oh sure, they parade certain issues around during election time to make sure christians come out to vote for them but then those issues are shelved until the next election comes along.

Personally I think our country would be best served by voting every incumbent from both parties out of office. I would suggest third parties but our two parties have most people so brainwashed that they really believe voting for a third party is casting a vote for the party they oppose. If we’d simply use the primaries to replace our own party members and the general elections to try and remove the other party’s incumbents, we could at least get somewhere close to a fresh start.

This won’t happen though. Things will continue as they are and our government will continue to fail at everything it attempts to do while the citizens will put more and more faith behind the government bailing them out when bad things happen.

/end rant

Benaiah on September 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM

Whenever one of these third rate hacks like Woodward, Hersh, et al writes something, then I know the truth is exactly the opposite. I wouldn’t believe them if they told me the sky was blue and the earth orbited around the Sun. They say we are losing, then I KNOW we are winning.

marianpaul on September 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM

If people are paying attention, these types of allegations SHOULD actually HELP the GOP. Keep in mind that the Democrats are actually demanding that we return to the same types of policy they claim are responsible for 9/11.

I say, keep these books coming. They only amplify the need for hard core prevention, which we all know Dems want no part of.

Gregor on September 29, 2006 at 2:20 PM

While I supported (and still support) the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein, I always had my reservations about the manner in which the campaign was conducted. This book, even if only half true, seems to confirm those suspicions.

I knew something was wrong when Fallujah was allowed to remain standing after the horrific slaughter of the Blackwater Four.

Uncle Billy, you are sorely missed.

Kid from Brooklyn on September 29, 2006 at 2:21 PM

I don’t trust this book one whit.

Whenever one of these third rate hacks like Woodward, Hersh, et al writes something, then I know the truth is exactly the opposite. I wouldn’t believe them if they told me the sky was blue and the earth orbited around the Sun. They say we are losing, then I KNOW we are winning.

I am with you on that sentiment. And the terrorists themselves say we are winning. Trying to recruit scientists? And Woodward is saying there is an attack every 15 minutes? Then why aren’t our guys dropping like flies? And why are some Iraqis naming their kids “Bush”? And then there are men like Karzai standing with us. How eloquent was HE the other day!

Bite me Woodward.

CrimsonFisted on September 29, 2006 at 2:30 PM

Does most of this come as much of a surprise? Did anybody believe that all was well in the State of Denmark to begin with?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it devastating, but it definitely raises some disturbing questions about the leadership of this country.

GregH on September 29, 2006 at 2:31 PM

Allah, I’m not getting your point? According to Woodward (and you) the worst is probably true, but how is that any different from what we see on the news every day for the past 3 years? If that’s the case then the book is worse than meaningless.

Capitalist Infidel on September 29, 2006 at 2:34 PM

tony snow on talking live about this right now

RightWinged on September 29, 2006 at 2:35 PM

It’s not just the administration’s on-site failings, it’s the initial analysis: chop of the wicked head keeping the people down, and the people will pretty much set up their own country. That assumption is what led to this denial Woodward is describing.

While it’s been bumpy as hell, isn’t that pretty much what’s going on?

From the Times:

Like Mr. Woodward’s previous works, the book includes lengthy verbatim quotations from conversations and describes what senior officials are thinking at various times, without identifying the sources for the information.

But of course…

Pablo on September 29, 2006 at 2:51 PM

I dont know yet, Allah. My disdain for Woodward thru the years, and now, is extreme. I have to wait to decide. I do not trust that man one bit.
We do not hear the whole of the story, with the libs and the leftist MSM in control of most of the news, so its hard to figure out what’s REALLY going on. Look at the Kurds right now, it could not be better in Northern Iraq.
I think Bush and his team underestimated the hate and BS from his own countrymen, if you can call them that. From Woodward to Michael Moore, I would not have believed it would EVER be this bad. Never would I have guessed that the level of hate for our President surpassed that of our enemies who kill us DAILY!!! Who kill over cartoons.
We took God out of the classrooms and look what’s happening. Same people that wanted that are the people who say we’re losing the war. We do not get the truth from the war from our MSM, so give me time before I commit to “We’re losing”.
Well they are right on one thing, we are losing. We’re losing our kids, and their future. Maybe deepthroat-woodward might take a stab at something more respectable for a change and do something POSITIVE for our country.
If we lose in Iraq, put your heads between your knees….

shooter on September 29, 2006 at 2:52 PM

Funny, I seem to remember hearing just last week that the jihadis were complaining about getting their asses kicked all over Iraq. They’re being drawn in and killed there instead of coming here to kill US. It’s working. Yes it may create more terrorists in the short term, but liberation, in the long run, will decrease the number of terrorists.

Either fight ‘em over there with the Army and Marines OR fight ‘em over HERE with firemen and SWAT teams. There’s your two choices. Pick one.

Tony737 on September 29, 2006 at 2:53 PM

Breaking News ….

DNC Chairman Howard Dean Al Qaeda 2nd in command Zaharwiri has just issued a new statement on the internet calling President Bush a “Liar and a Failure”.

fogw on September 29, 2006 at 2:58 PM

Funny, I seem to remember hearing just last week that the jihadis were complaining about getting their asses kicked all over Iraq.
Tony737 on September 29, 2006 at 2:53 PM

I think thats exactly why Woodward released the book now, instead of mid to late October, before more good news makes his book even more useless.

shooter on September 29, 2006 at 3:03 PM

I read the Daily News report and have no idea what AllahPundit is talking about when he says the report is “devastating.” All that is in the report are the same allegations with no proof.

Common Sense: The fact that so many liberals, socialists, commis, and radically devout Muslims do NOT want us in Iraq shows we SHOULD be in Iraq.

What was the American body count three years into World War II? What is the American body count in the War on Terror? And the report is “devastating?” What is AllahPundit on this afternoon?

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 3:21 PM

John Cole asks a good question. I’m not sure what my answer would be, frankly.

I’m sorry. What was the question?

GT on September 29, 2006 at 3:29 PM

The fact is that Bush didn’t forsee the insurgency. I think that is pretty undeniable. The White House staff had far too optimistic predictions about how things would go in Iraq. That is nothing new and not surprising, though some on our side still seem to be in denial about it. Remember, this is still the White House that insists Islam is a “religion of peace.” Bob Woodward’s revelations are probably mostly true, regardless of what I think of Woodward personally.

I was skeptical of the war in Iraq from the beginning. Not because I doubted that Saddam had WMDs (I believed he had them just as everyone else believed) or that Saddam had ties to terrorism (he definitely had ties to Palestinian terrorists), but only because I didn’t think Iraq was any more likely to pass WMDs to terrorists than many other regimes in the world, including Iran. Nevertheless, there is little doubt in my mind that Saddam and his sons would eventually have to be dealt with once and for all. We couldn’t just keep ineffectual sanctions on him forever and we couldn’t let him get back to resuming his schemes against his neighbors.

I thought if we were going to invade anyway, we should have immediately partitioned the country. I don’t see Iraq as a viable country without a strongman. I share Robert Spencer’s skepticism about the viability of democracy in an Islamic society. The Kurds have always had a strong desire to exit this Yugomesopotamia and I don’t see why the Sunnis and Shiites have any great reason to work together. We need to operate with a cold calculus towards the Islamic world. Smaller Muslim nations are better for our national security and our interests than larger ones. They pose less of a threat and if one regime goes particularly bad, we may not lose the whole pie if there are lots of little Muslim nations. If we lose all of Iraq to an Iranian-like regime fostered by the Shia or a resurgent Baathist movement among the Sunnis, then we lose a potential ally in the Kurds along the way. Better we lose only Sunni and Shiite Arabs and keep and strengthen our Kurdish friends. We ought to divide the Muslim world as much as possible.

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 3:39 PM

A.P you are too gullible my friend. Woodward is a liar, if the “deep throat” thing didn’t show you that, I don’t know what will. Remember after the guy said, “Hey, it’s me, I’m Deep Throat”, Woody kept denying it? Well he had a book to pimp and a premature revelation would be just the thing to stifle sales! Allow me to present exhibit A.

Like Mr. Woodward’s previous works, the book includes lengthy verbatim quotations from conversations and describes what senior officials are thinking at various times, without identifying the sources for the information.

The only kind of writing which goes into what people are “thinking at various times”, is fiction. How is a “VERBATIM QUOTATION” possible of an event that was not recorded? At best, wouldn’t it be a “recollection” of a conversaton? Even if the subject believed that he was recounting events that he personally witnessed, how COULD THE WRITER DESCRIBE THE ACCOUNT AS “VERBATIM”? This presupposes, intentionally in my view, that the subjects account is correct and the use of the word “verbatim”, psychologically vouches for the accuracy of the recollection without ANY proof!

Woodward is a liar.

In the chest of a liberal flutters the faint heart of a coward….

Soothsayer on September 29, 2006 at 3:48 PM

Good thing Tony Snow is workin for the White House right now… he pretty much laid to rest most of the allegations made in this book…

Romeo13 on September 29, 2006 at 3:48 PM

So the New York Times and a Washington Post reporter don’t like President Bush.

Who knew?

doingwhatican on September 29, 2006 at 3:48 PM

Devastating? Please. Quit pissing your panties over what Bob Woodward wrote. This is the same guy who manufactured a confession from Bill Casey out of whole cloth.

Without a doubt there are numerous problems with our war in Iraq and those of us posting here have made numerous comments to that effect. I think the biggest probem is that we went in with the wrong (regardless of the good intentions behind them) set of priorities by emphasizing the minimization of civilian casualties of unequivicol victory. We should have known that the Sunnis, the formerly favored sect in Iraq, would give us the most trouble, and we should have dealt with them extremely harshly, and we should have also imposed martial law in at least the Sunni areas. We should have also known that the Shiites support of our efforts would be tepid, at best – particularly in light of our abandoning of them after the first Gulf War. We should have, without any hesitation, flattend Fallujah in the same manner we did with other cities in WWII the instant they pulled their little uprising. We should have killed that fat little f— al Sadr a long time ago, even if it meant dropping a bomb into the middle of a mosque, since his militia has used them for military purposed time and time again. In short, we should have done more to make them fear us, for it’s the lack of fear that has emboldened the insurgents and made others in Iraq waver on supporting us.

And yet, had we done all of those things, does anyone here have any illusions as to whether or not there would still be problems? That there would still be those carping from the sidelines? Does anyone doubt that Bob Woodward would be releasing a book full of juicy, insider tidbits? To quote Wayne Campbell, “Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt!”

As far as the repeated claim that we never found any WMD’s why does this continue to get ignored? Does it not count for some strange reason?

A few weeks ago, Stratfor sent out one of its free emails (its Geopolitical Intelligence Report) in which George Friedman surmised that we had made a lot of progress in the War in general and had accomplished many objectives in Iraq, including forcing the cooperation of Saudi Arabia and other countries in helping us track down many high value terrorist targets. Does Woodward mention any of that? I seriously doubt it. But between him and Woodward, I know who’s opinion I will trust more.

If something like this devastates you, then be thankful you weren’t part of the WWII generation, because you would have never been able to make it through.

thirteen28 on September 29, 2006 at 3:52 PM

I can just imagine what it would be like if Saddam were still in power, racing Iran to get a nuke. I can’t understand people who think removing Saddam was a mistake. By all historical standards, this has been the most successful war in history. I’m disappointed that so many on our side think this thing is going so badly. I expect it from the Dems…

canvas on September 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM

Woodward’s previous books on the admin have been pretty pro administration and he is a very credible reporter. That said, the question remains, now what?

Were I Bush, I would get rid of Rumsfeld if for no other reason than he appears to have serious problems playing well with others. (One thing that puzzles me is that the admin tries to position itself as being run on a business model, with former successful CEOs. Well Bush was certainly not and Cheney was lukewarm at best, but Rumsfeld was a remarkably successful, even brilliant businessman. Where did those skills go?) Politically would it be best for Bush et al to do so now or later? Someone smarter than me can answer that.

I guess I will read this book. You want to know but you don’t want to know. I have pretty much lost my taste for arguing about this. Heartache is pretty much on target.

honora on September 29, 2006 at 4:11 PM

I knew something was wrong when Fallujah was allowed to remain standing after the horrific slaughter of the Blackwater Four.
Kid from Brooklyn on September 29, 2006 at 2:21 PM

As usual the Kid is right.
I supported the Iraq war, I still support it but I dont think..I KNOW we have made some real boneheaded decisions. I dont know who, what, why or when but they are obvious.
Reading Michael Yon lately has only added to my unease.
We MUST begin NOW to do better. Period. Or we are lost.

labwrs on September 29, 2006 at 4:27 PM

I agree with you, Honora. Rumsfeld ought to get the boot. They should have dumped him a long time ago.

It isn’t hard to understand how somebody can be remarkably successful in business but not in war. Success simply doesn’t translate very well across fields. Rumsfeld isn’t a military commander. He is not an expert on war.

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 4:30 PM

Yeah, Rummy sure was wrong on that little tank thing years ago….what was that? The M1A1 Abrams Tank that everyone said would never be used. “Tanks had seen their last days” they said. When you say he needs fired, prove it. He does have a few decades experience.

shooter on September 29, 2006 at 4:35 PM

Oh yes, tanks! For the Americans, the Abrams, and for the Israelis, the Merkava. Yes, these tanks with all that reactive armor that were supposed to be practically invicible in the face of anything short of a massive explosion? The ones that have fallen prey readily to shaped charges?

We need an entirely new generation of armor for tanks. The current generation of armor has been dramatically overhyped by contractors and their buddies in the Pentagon.

More science and proven results and less hype on the armor front, please.

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 4:42 PM

If there is any reason I think Rumsfeld should get canned, it can be summed up nicely by saying “The Camp Pendleton 8″.

These guys have been held in solitary for months and were in shackles for a while as well (oh where are you on this issue, Mark J.?) over accusations from an enemy that has an axe to grind. This is the type of thing that undermines morale of our military and reduces their effectiveness to fight such that all the ground troops in the world wouldn’t be able to overcome it. And Rumsfeld has the power to lean on the military brass and to put a stop to this sh-t right now and to make sure that these guys get a fair trial. He’s done none of that.

However, if there is one grain of salt those comments should be taken with, it is the fact that perhaps the buck stops at a higher level. Whoever is responsible for the railroading of our troops, they should be ashamed.

thirteen28 on September 29, 2006 at 4:45 PM

Tommy1 says:

It isn’t hard to understand how somebody can be remarkably successful in business but not in war.

Honora and Tommy1′s comments are so comical because they have no idea what a “successful” war is. Liberals like them NEVER want to go to war, so what is a “successful” war to them? What would a “successful” war in Iraq have been?

We are fighting a worldwide war right now on terror against a foe that had the capability (thanks to Democrats) of killing 3000 Americans on home soil. Yet three years into the war, we have lost about 3000 troops.

Liberals: Since you have no idea what a “successful” war is because you are against ALL wars, here is some perspective: 3500 men died in one day just storming the island of Saipan in WWII. This was considered a success. So how is Iraq a failure?

This is why our country has little hope if ruled by liberals.

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 4:48 PM

BAH! Utter nonsense. We won the WAR (the Iraq part) in less than a week.

What we are losing is the peace… Because the Sunnis hate the Shiites and both hate the Kurds. We had hoped (erroniously)that since Iraq was sort of non-religious under Saddam, that they might be willing to live together under freedom.

Unfortunately, too many of them hate EVERYONE more than they love their children.

The only major mistake that President Bush made is thinking that rationality would conquer hate, given the chance.

LegendHasIt on September 29, 2006 at 4:51 PM

Liberals like them NEVER want to go to war, so what is a “successful” war to them?

World War I–Wilson
World War II–FDR
Korea–Truman
Johnson–Vietnam

The devil is in the details I guess.

honora on September 29, 2006 at 4:53 PM

januarius,

First, I’m not a liberal, so quit with the insults.

Second of all, you would have seen what I would like to have done with Iraq if you had bothered to read my first comment on this thread. I support waterboarding terrorists, I think Bush made a tremendous boo-boo in not killing al-Sadr a few years earlier, and I agree with you that our country has become way to too soft when it comes to waging war. However, talking about getting tougher means very little if we don’t know where we are going with that tough approach. “Hearts and minds” is not a concrete military strategy. If you think otherwise, then I suggest you don’t know what a successful war is.

You quote one of my comments and then proceed to take issue with me for some entirely unrelated reason. My point about Rumsfeld is true in practically any human field. You can be a great scientist but a lousy businessman. You can be a great businessman, but a terrible politician. I’ll offer you the papal apology: sorry if such an observation offends you.

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 4:56 PM

If I get even one comment in this thread that addresses the substance of the allegations, I’ll consider it a moral victory.

So far I haven’t seen any substance, just allegations. Look the fact this is a mess means nothing by itself, if you have no reasonable alternatives to offer or specific criticisms I am frankly unimpressed.

We are trying to do something that has never been done in the history of the world, how do we know this is not about as good as it gets. Some jobs are time consuming and messy, there is no other way to do it, sane people knew going in this was not going to be a quick or easy fix and no one in the administration said otherwise. Now after three years of slow but steady progress we are going to fold the tents because Bob freakin’ Woodward has decided Rumsfield isn’t nice and doesn’t have the absolute, unqualified support of everybody inside the beltway?

When Woodward questions how much easier things would have gone if the Democratic Party hadn’t been trying to sabotage the effort to embarass George Bush, I might consider his opinion sincere, until then it is just more political noise.

B Moe on September 29, 2006 at 4:58 PM

januarius,

First, I’m not a liberal, so quit with the insults.

Second of all, you would have seen what I would like to have done with Iraq if you had bothered to read my first comment on this thread. I support waterboarding terrorists, I think Bush made a tremendous boo-boo in not killing al-Sadr a few years earlier, and I agree with you that our country has become way to too soft when it comes to waging war. However, talking about getting tougher means very little if we don’t know where we are going with that tough approach. “Hearts and minds” is not a concrete military strategy. If you think otherwise, then I suggest you don’t know what a successful war is.

You quote one of my comments and then proceed to take issue with me for some entirely unrelated reason. My point about Rumsfeld is true in practically any human field. You can be a great scientist but a lousy businessman. You can be a great businessman, but a terrible politician. I’ll offer you the papal apology: sorry if such an observation offends you.

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 4:56 PM

I think you need both hearts and minds strategy and a smart and tough military strategy. These are not incompatible.

Ideally you want other people to love you, if not that, you want them to fear you. Seems to me we have gotten to the point where we neither.

honora on September 29, 2006 at 4:59 PM

Honora: You still do not comprehend that Wilson, FDR, Truman, and Johnson are not Howard Dean/McGovern-type liberals, the kind that are whining about Iraq right now. The Democrat party is different today in case you haven’t noticed.

And you think that WWII was a success (how convenient in hindsight) when single battles lost thousands of American lives–while Iraq in your view is such a failure that Rumsfeld must be fired because we have lost a little over 3000 troops in the War on Terror.

I love it when libs get upset that we took over Iraq with hardly any casualties at all and then whine that we have lost 3000 troops since. I guess a successful war to them would have been thousands of troops dying to take over the country and few troops in guerrila warfare.

But this is all irrelevant because today’s liberals would never go to war under any scenerio.

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 5:06 PM

World War I–Wilson
World War II–FDR
Korea–Truman
Johnson–Vietnam

The devil is in the details I guess.

I’ll give you WWII as a successful war and commend FDR’s stewardship thereof … but are you serious about the other three?? If so, you are even farther gone than I already thought.

thirteen28 on September 29, 2006 at 5:10 PM

Tommy1 and Honora sound like the New York Times and MSM after WW2.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

.

GT on September 29, 2006 at 5:16 PM

But this is all irrelevant because today’s liberals would never go to war under any scenerio.

Wrong about one thing there januarius: Many of them WOULD be happy to go to war against Conservatives within their own nation. (It’s just that they would have to hire mercenaries to do it; lacking the courage and skills to engage in anything more than a war of words.)

And since they are only willing to spend other people’s money to do things, I guess we are fortunate that we don’t have to face their hired guns.

LegendHasIt on September 29, 2006 at 5:18 PM

Tommy1:

I support waterboarding terrorists, I think Bush made a tremendous boo-boo in not killing al-Sadr a few years earlier, and I agree with you that our country has become way to too soft when it comes to waging war. However, talking about getting tougher means very little if we don’t know where we are going with that tough approach. “Hearts and minds” is not a concrete military strategy. If you think otherwise, then I suggest you don’t know what a successful war is.

I totally agree with you here. I also agree we are too nice to people that hate us and should have crushed Al-Sadr. (I doubt Rumsfeld made that call.) But I still disagree that Rumsfeld must go and that this war has not been successful, even with politically correct mishaps like refusing to wipe out Al-Sadr and his militia. We are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan and we have only lost just over 3000 troops in over four years–and they have not been able to strike American civilians since.

Why then should this war be considered unsuccessful and why should Rumsfeld resign for a successful strategy against Al Qaeda?

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 5:19 PM

LegendHasIt:

The only major mistake that President Bush made is thinking that rationality would conquer hate, given the chance.

I agree that Bush was naive when he thought that with democracy that everyone would suddenly get along. Even with the mistakes the war has been remarkably successful in terms of casualties and the fact that Al Qaeda is wasting its resources fighting us there instead of here.

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 5:30 PM

Naive or just hopeful?

I was hopeful myself… I thought, based on prior experience, that the Iraqis (the only one of all the nations in that region) WOULD be able to embrace democracy and overcome the negative teachings of their predominate religion.

I still harbor a faint hope that it may happen. Despite his unfortunbate last name, their President Talebani seems to be a fairly wise, rational and decent man.

If we can help them destroy the Iranian (plus Syrian, Egyptian and ‘palestinian’) jihadis invading their country to cause trouble and kill their civilians, it still might eventually work out OK.

LegendHasIt on September 29, 2006 at 6:02 PM

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 4:48 PM
you’re correct. Dont know why you didnt mention 10,000 died in a few hours on D-Day.
The rhetoric above here today is …? well goofy I guess. Tommy beats up on a tank, designed 30 years ago, thats nothing less than amazing. IT was the reason we took Bagdad in 30 days and we won another 100 HOUR war. We will always be updating armor as long as we have enemies and enemies with-in. Were you standing beside some of our fair weather friends screaming WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE?
Damn…..
I got sucked in. I’m arguing tanks instead of Rumsfeld or America’s winning ways in Iraq, and around the world.

He is not an expert on war.
tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 4:30 PM

You say this about Rumsfeld, but do you really have any idea what you’re talking about? Might be you should look up some of his credentials!
Woodard is an expert on nothing but “what other people are thinking”. We do have experts on war in this country not named Norman Schwarzkopf, and I believe Rumsfeld is qualified.

shooter on September 29, 2006 at 6:13 PM

Oh, by the way, IMHO Rumsfeld is the best SecDef we have EVER had; at least in my life time, possibly ever.

I wrote a treatise on why I believe this some time ago (don’t have time to re-write it or find it now).

Rummy critics either have no real clue of what the military is supposed to do, or the ones who have/do themselves serve, are seeing their own ‘ox gored’ by Rummy’s changing the military structure and mission capability to fight the fights we have to fight now and will likely have to fight in the future.

LegendHasIt on September 29, 2006 at 6:13 PM

Oh, crud, and one more thing:

Yeah, POLITICALLY, President Bush would be well served to fire Rummy. The problem is, is that President Bush is concerned that America be able to properly defend itself after he is gone.

Thank goodness that the President is more concerned with the survival of the USA than he is political expedency and being loved by the left.

Now, I’m outta here for a couple of hours.

LegendHasIt on September 29, 2006 at 6:17 PM

Tommy beats up on a tank, designed 30 years ago, thats nothing less than amazing

Please. The Abrams tank itself is about the best in the world. But even the best tanks in the world are losing their edge quickly. I highly doubt that the tanks haven’t been modified in 30 years either. I’m sure they’ve been refitted plenty of times. But the problem isn’t so much the tank: it is hype surrounding the tank. I look at the hype surrounding the Merkava and then how vulnerable those Merkavas proved against Hezbollah and have to wonder if anyone is paying attention to the fact that today’s tanks are losing serious ground to anti-tank weaponry. Again, we need major advancements in armor design. I also think we need to fund much more missle defense research. Especially against very short range missles, like the ones Hezbollah used against Israel, and very long-range missles, like the ones that North Korea may eventually come to possess.

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 7:38 PM

A few comments:

1. The biggest problem that no one really wants to talk about is that a people who have only ever known oppression cannot learn what a democracy is and put it into practice in a few years. We sat on the Japanese for 2 decades before we left them to govern themselves. It took the education of an entire generation in the values of a democracy for that democracy to come into being and flourish. No one wants to say it, but that is how you truly change things in the Middle East; an entire generation has to be raised with democratic values about individual freedom and responsibility before it will really work. That is why so many Eastern European nations have struggled since gaining their freedom. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, but Americans have lost the ability to do anything over the long-haul. As a culture we want instant gratification.

2. Another issue is money. I work for the government and what seems to be happening with the money is that Congress has put money that would normally go into home station operations and put it towards the war. This makes sens. However, if you want more soldiers and want to be prepared for the long haul, then you have to keep the home station money at roughly the same level so you have the number of troops needed and trained properly. Instead, the government has dramatically cut the money for home station operations, which is leading to massive cuts in personnel and other necessary activities in order to ensure that training remains for those who remain in the military. Over the long haul, this won’t work because folks will not re-enlist because they are too worn out from the stress of deployments and not having enough resources at home station. Meanwhile, the government continues to spend billions of dollars on unnecessary government programs. Again, in order to win a long war, spending on the military should increase to some extent while programs that are nice to have on the civilian side need to decrease. It’s called sacrifice and our country used to know how to do it.

3. If you ask a lot of the folks coming home from overseas, we are not doing nearly as bad as the doom-sayers would like. In fact, some think we are winning the war. You will just never hear about that from any MSM or the likes of Bob Woodward.

kemphd on September 29, 2006 at 7:54 PM

By the way, the Army is working on developing a new type of tank that can deal with the stuff being used by the insurgency and still be light enough to provide quick mobility.

kemphd on September 29, 2006 at 7:57 PM

Now I’m laughing.

“Oh yes, tanks! For the Americans, the Abrams, and for the Israelis, the Merkava. Yes, these tanks with all that reactive armor that were supposed to be practically invicible in the face of anything short of a massive explosion? The ones that have fallen prey readily to shaped charges?”

“We need an entirely new generation of armor for tanks. The current generation of armor has been dramatically overhyped by contractors and their buddies in the Pentagon.”

“More science and proven results and less hype on the armor front, please.”

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 4:42 PM

Overhyped? This one is so ludicrous as to be unbelievably retarded. Rumsfeld cancelled the follow on to the Paladin self propelled artillery, the Crusader. He had no intention of cancelling the M1A1, nor M1A2, which is coincidentally the MOST successful tank in the world. M1s have been hit by dozens, I say again DOZENS, of RPGs in Iraq and continue to work and protect the Men inside who then kill dozens, I say again, DOZENS of insurgents in return fire. They have vulnerabilities. But the ragheads (I said ragheads, by God) need to get behind them and hit them in just the correct spot to disable them.

The crew survival rate under enemy fire of all types in the M1A1 is more than a bit better than the survival rate for the crew inside a Russian made T-72 or T-80 Main Battle Tank (MBT) when under fire from the M1A1, Javelins, TOWs, or RPGs.

To claim that the armor used by American forces in this war has been unsuccessful and needs to be replaced because shaped charges are killing our Men by blowing up underneath our tanks is pretty dumb, if you ask me. All tanks are built and designed with this vulnerability. Speed is more important in a tank battle. Weight is a hindrance.

The results speak for themselves. In the initial invasion and drive to Baghdad NO, I repeat, NONE, of the handful of M1A1s destroyed or disabled were as a result of direct or indirect enemy fire. Most of the disabled tanks were disabled by mechanical failure or enemy fire which damaged required combat ready systems. The sole destroyed tank was destroyed by US Maverick missiles to keep the tank from falling into Iraqi hands. No personnel were lost due to enemy fire in an M1A1 tank in this period. During the occupation over 80 M1s have been damaged and a fraction of them destroyed. No further unclassified information is available, but you can bet that the US Main Battle Tanks are NOT as vulnerable as you surmise.

If you read the exploits of CPT Neal Prakash (winner of the Silver Star for action in Baquba, and later decorated for action in Fallujah), and any number of other tankers in this war, you would find that M1A1s are nearly indestructible and are far better at surviving any blast than any other vehicle we have, except maybe the Strikers. These are the follow units to M1A1s and M1A2s for the Army and they are already outstripping the M1s performance in some areas.

Technology will always find a way to defeat armor. What it can’t defeat is Men who are tougher than insurgents who hide in fear every time our soldiers walk by, and only come out to fight when they can hide behind little girls to shoot at Americans.

More science and less hype? Look in the mirror Tommy1.

Subsunk out.

Subsunk on September 29, 2006 at 8:02 PM

My understanding is that the modern Merkavas are not far from the modern Abrams as far as armor goes. If that is the case, then we have real problems. It wasn’t shaped charges lying beneath tanks taking out those Merkavas, it was anti-tank missles.

Do you have information, Subsunk, indicating that the Abrams is substantially stronger than the Merkava?

tommy1 on September 29, 2006 at 11:23 PM

AP wrote:

“…but score-settling and face-saving motives aside, there’s surely some truth to it.”

And then he wrote: “If I get even one comment in this thread — from someone other than honora or GregH, I mean — that addresses the substance of the allegations, I’ll consider it a moral victory.”

How can you tell what the substance really is, the book isn’t published yet!

Given that the NY Times cherry picks from documents with the intent to smear Bush every chance they get, they do not have much credibility. In other words, the book probably does NOT say what the Times says it does.

Point 2:

Were mistakes made in the war and afterward? Yep. Did Stimson, Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Nimitz, Halsey, Patton, Bradley make mistakes during WWII? Yep. And these mistakes cost THOUSANDS of American lives.

Ever hear of Clausewitz?

“Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction. . . . This tremendous friction . . . is everywhere in contact with chance, and brings about effects that cannot be measured, just because they are largely due to chance. . . . Moreover, every war is rich in unique episodes.”

Iraq is just like every other war in this sense. It is a given that wrong decisions were made once we invaded Iraq.

It is a given that the enemy out-thought and out-maneuvered us on more than one occasion. It is to be expected. How we react to the unexpected is what counts. Have we changed tactics in the face of changes in the enemy’s tactics? Has the US military reacted with flexibility to the enemy’s new tactics? YOU BET!

We’ve got the most lethal, most flexible, most capable military in the world. And contrary to what the 5th Columnists in the leftstream media are telling us, we are not being “picked off” one by one while we are twisting slowly in the wind in the “quagmire.” We are NOT being told what or where the battles are by the media, what the effect of our operations are on the people, or how badly the enemy is hurting as a result. If they told us what the context is, they would be unable to sabotage the war by the incessent death count.

Furthermore, we are given FAKE stories, and fake pictures, planted by Al Qaeda operatives in the Associated Press and Reuters, embellished by “reporters” reporting from outside their hotel bar in the Green Zone, and then the whole lot of hooey is pontificated on by flaming morons like David Gregory, Brian Ross, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson, and that ignorant twit, Katy Couric.

The video tape — from a year ago — this week on ABC news and nighline was a PRIME EXAMPLE.

What the hell! Is Rumsfeld or Bush, or Franks, or Bremer, or [fill in the blank] expected to be INFALLABLE by the asshole left?

Point 3:

Woodward, according to the summaries — I have NOT read the book — says that some statistics were kept from the public, implying that the administration did not level with the press. SO WHAT!!!

This is supposed to be some kind of election killing revelation? Do these morons in the media really think that the public is STUPID?

Here’s what FDR said during WWII.

“Your Government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your Government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us. In a democracy there is always a solemn pact of truth between government and the people, but there must also always be a full use of discretion, and that word ” discretion” applies to the critics of government as well.

This is war. The American people want to know, and will be told, the general trend of how the war is going. But they do not wish to help the enemy any more than our fighting forces do, and they will pay little attention to the rumor-mongers and the poison peddlers in our midst. ”

[Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Fireside Chat 20 (February 23, 1942), On the Progress of the War,” http://millercenter.virginia.edu/scripps/diglibrary/prezspeeches/roosevelt/fdr_1942_0223.html

The above speach (or one very much like it) should be given by Bush at least once a week.

I am convinced — by the reaction after the NSA and financial transaction leaks — that the American people fully understand the need for some secrets, including ones that would give the enemy heart.

I remain convinced that the public understands that there WILL be reverses just as there will be victories and that the public does NOT NEED to know them if disclosure will aid and abet the enemy.

I remain convinced that the public’s dissatification with the war is identical with that shown in 1864, 1918, 1944, and 1952 and every other long war. And, let add, in 1781 as well. Everybody wants the war to be over — not the least, me, as my son is a US Marine and an Iraq war veteran — and I and my wife dred any phone call with the callerid of “US GOVT” telling son he has orders, again, to the middle east.

But I (and 61% of the American public — according to Michael Barone) think that we need to stay in Iraq until the new government can stand on its own.

I agree with the ACTUAL NIE (not the crap peddled by WashPO and the Times) that if the jihadists LOSE in Iraq, the jihadi movement if finished.

Isn’t that the prize, here?

georgej on September 30, 2006 at 6:59 AM

The shaped charges that are causing us such grief in Iraq are an adaptation that the enemy has made with Iranian help.

War is funny like that. It doesn’t go your way 100% of the time. The enemy is clever and resourceful and they don’t quit because you show up in big tanks and helicopters and uniforms with your name sewn own them. They keep fighting and looking for new and different ways to kill you.

So far, they’ve gotten 2500 or so, in three years of war.

How many have we gotten of them? How much territory do they hold? What have they won, and what have we lost to them?

And then there’s the most important question that we need to be looking at as we consider going forward: What are the Iraqis doing to control their own security/destiny and are they taking the opportunity we’ve given them seriously?

I submit to you that they are.

Pablo on September 30, 2006 at 8:35 AM

“Hearts and minds” is not a concrete military strategy.

Bush & Co. need to rip a page out of hezbollah’s playbook – they have the “hearts and minds” thingy down pat.

pullingmyhairout on September 30, 2006 at 9:50 AM

So much foolishness and so little appetite to deal with it.

Do you old guys remember the Peace Dividend?
After the

winning

of the Cold War (hahaha), everyone was anxious to ease up on defense spending. Better things to do at home, don’t you know? Let’s close most of our military bases and pour the money into more social programs. A fellow named Clinton was Commander in Chief for 8 very long years. His first Sec of Defense, a political hack by the name of Les Aspen(?), didn’t want to ship heavy armored vehicles to Somalia so we got Black Hawk Down. Aspen fell on his sword and another career politician was given the job of enforcing the Peace Dividend. I had an idea for a post-911 poster that would have shown the twin towers smoking and burning with just the caption The Peace Dividend. I think I would have made some nice money selling it.
The fact is that we should an active military force at least twice its present size. Donald Rumsfeld has worked magic with what he had been giving. He went into the Pentagon with the intent of cracking heads. Leslie Clark wasn’t the sole inhabitant of that building that was more hat than cattle. Rumsfeld’s mission was set before he as sworn in. 911 made it a helluva lot harder to effect. He was honest enough to remind us that

you fight with the army you have”

. Can anybody seriously think that he had all the pieces he wanted in place?
The fact is that we did know Saddam had WMD, and alert readers have come across reports of their finding from time to time. But the progressive democrats (read: communists) & the progressive MSM keep their baying at such a high level that these things go largely unnoticed. Forget the large convoys going out of Iraq into Syria during the buildup to the war. I remember a report of Hussein’s wife & family leaving in a convoy of at least a dozen large moving trucks. Was it all shoes & burqas? Thgese things were reported. Remember the jets being dug out of the desert and caches of hundreds of millions of American dollars being found here & there?
Is this the first war where we’ve had Rules of Engagement drawn up by lawyers for specific engagements? I don’t think that was Rumsfeld’s idea but it emblematic of what a candyass political class we have leading us. (Visions of Patsy Schroeder crying on the floor of the House.
Iraq has been a great success because it has afforded us the glorious opportunity of dispatching tens of thousands of animals made up to look human. Let them meet the devil in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. I know I’ll sure feel good about it.
What kind of silly person wants to about the way this or that done when we’re in the middle of a war? That’s for the history book to write about years hence. We’re in an armed conflict– the only way to look is forward.
We won’t lose the war in Iraq in Iraq, we’ll lose it at home not with the cliched hearts & minds crapola but back home in our communities. Educational systems that want to make your kids pansies, urban & suburban communities who heed to the NIMBY credo, people who because they are being taxed to death leave it to MTV to raise their kids.
I could go on & on but the bile is choking me.
You want to win a war, then wage a war. Iraq is only the first stop.
One American life is worth n number of any other.

thegreatbeast on September 30, 2006 at 8:19 PM

I’ll give you WWII as a successful war and commend FDR’s stewardship thereof … but are you serious about the other three?? If so, you are even farther gone than I already thought.

thirteen28 on September 29, 2006 at 5:10 PM

Pay attention–I was responding to the statement that liberal never want to wage war.

honora on October 2, 2006 at 1:07 PM

Honora: You still do not comprehend that Wilson, FDR, Truman, and Johnson are not Howard Dean/McGovern-type liberals, the kind that are whining about Iraq right now. The Democrat party is different today in case you haven’t noticed.

And you think that WWII was a success (how convenient in hindsight) when single battles lost thousands of American lives–while Iraq in your view is such a failure that Rumsfeld must be fired because we have lost a little over 3000 troops in the War on Terror.

I love it when libs get upset that we took over Iraq with hardly any casualties at all and then whine that we have lost 3000 troops since. I guess a successful war to them would have been thousands of troops dying to take over the country and few troops in guerrila warfare.

But this is all irrelevant because today’s liberals would never go to war under any scenerio.

januarius on September 29, 2006 at 5:06 PM

Your premise that liberals would never go to war is just that: a premise. Look up the difference between that and a fact. (And RINOs are not real Republicans…it’s so hard to keep this all straight….)

Let’s see: you want to claim that Wilson/FDR/Truman/Johnson are not liberals like today’s liberals? And this is because you assume they would agree with you, not today’s liberals. Well gee, it’s hard to argue with that buttoned up logic.

Interesting that you are calling on the memory of the country’s most emblamatic liberals to bolster your point of view. Honey I hate to break this to you, but this is a real, real serious sign that the wheels are coming off your argument. I get a headache just thinking about the mental acrobatics required to maintain it.

honora on October 2, 2006 at 1:14 PM

Bush & Co. need to rip a page out of hezbollah’s playbook – they have the “hearts and minds” thingy down pat.

pullingmyhairout on September 30, 2006 at 9:50 AM

Exactly. And it’s especially key when the enemy shares the culture of the population and we don’t. And especially difficult. Monumentally difficult as we are learning.

honora on October 2, 2006 at 1:18 PM