View Full Version : Two Very Bad Days in Washington

12-06-2006, 11:31 PM
From the Westhawk blog - Two Very Bad Days in Washington (http://westhawk.blogspot.com/2006/12/two-very-bad-days-in-washington.html).

During the past two days, the political class in Washington has not covered itself in glory. Even as most days are like this, these past two have been particularly low.

Yesterday, Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates spent five hours undergoing mild questioning by the Senate Armed Services Committee. It apparently pleased the Senators when Mr. Gates declared that the U.S. is not winning the war in Iraq. We wonder how the soldiers and Marines in Iraq, as well as their families, will interpret this statement from their future leader. When the senators tried to elicit from Mr. Gates some thoughts about what should be done about Iraq, the nominee shrugged his shoulders, noted that there were no new ideas, and then muttered that he would ask around for advice and think about it some.

Happy to be rid of Donald Rumsfeld, a man who had the effrontery to actually defend himself during congressional interrogations, the Senators approved Mr. Gates’s nomination by a vote of 24 to 0. It seems as if appearing before a Senate committee as a bland, uninformed, and unimaginative sycophant is a surefire way of gaining approval. And having, to the committee’s delight, shown no thoughts or even apparent interest in the issues that a Defense Secretary must face, Mr. Gates now has infinite freedom to adopt any conceivable position. We wonder how bewildering this spectacle must be to an Iraqi or Afghan man wondering whether he should risk his life as an ally of the United States.

This was followed today by the presentation of the august Iraq Study Group. This commission declared that the U.S. military should emphasize training Iraqi forces and increase the number of Americans embedded with Iraqi units – a policy already in place for two years after the arrival of General George Casey as commander in Iraq (US field commanders in Iraq recently discussed their plans to increase embedded personnel here (http://www.defenselink.mil/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=3820) and here (http://www.defenselink.mil/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=3806)). The commission also asserted that most of the U.S. ground combat brigades could be out of Iraq by the spring of 2008. This timeline is at least as long, and maybe longer, than that already contemplated by General Casey and his command...

The Iraq Study Group report is a childish embarrassment, a paper which would get a poor grade if submitted in an undergraduate international relations course. Its authors would be well advised to slink out of town, lest someone remember that they were associated with this project.
Thus ends two ignominious days in Washington, D.C. Many inside the Washington bubble will consider the replacement of Mr. Rumsfeld and the arrival of a bi-partisan commission’s study of Iraq to be progress. On the contrary, U.S. interests have been positively harmed by the Gates hearing and the ISG presentation. The U.S. would be better off had these two days never occurred. Observers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world must have watched and then despaired at the strength and wisdom of the U.S. government...

More at the link - read it all - Westhawk is a must read on a regular basis...

Tom Odom
12-07-2006, 01:18 PM

Last time I checked we are a democracy, based on 3 pillars of executive, judicial, and legislative powers.

Gates presentation before the Senate is part of that process. That he said what he thinks is equally valid and necessary.

As for the ISG report, it pulls together much that has been bandered about. It too is very much a part of our process.

And I would remind folks it is that process that thing called democracy that has been put forward as our ultimate reason for being in Iraq.

We have not had an open discussion of what we are doing in Iraq and our desired end state. It is about time we did and if that is seen as a weakness, our enemies do not understand us and that too is a good thing.



Steve Blair
12-07-2006, 09:19 PM
And you'll continue to see this sort of thing, in my view, because politicians really don't want people asking questions. They want to manage hearings so that they look good in sound bites and get the snippets they want. They don't want an active and engaged public because this might force action in one direction or the other. Far better to drivel, snivel, and keep hold on that nice office than to be unseated because the home folks got to thinking about what you did or didn't do in that office.

01-22-2007, 06:59 PM
Hey again Tom !

Gates presentation before the Senate is part of that process. That he said what he thinks is equally valid and necessary.

You once quoted something that to this day, I retain and use much like my mini pysops lessons in Korea, circa 1980.

Not so blind as those who can see, you would say (the country team, miles west of hell).

Pysops 101, Not so informed as those who believe.

Point well taken.

The instructor was attempting to explain why Rock Marines would stay on that mountain for weeks with little more than a bowl of rice, when our command couldn't get us away from 4P1 (then, the only live fire battery in the US Army) There were far worse places to be along the DMZ (than next to 12 M110 (8") howitzers all pointing north). This spiritual Sierra (I hope Marct doesn't see this :D ) meant little, but 8" guns were true religion !

Now my twisted NCO opinion :eek:

I think Gates said what he needed to in the hopes that WE would be that "not so informed as those who believe". Politics, but no soldier(ing).

Regards, Stan