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Bush’s Plan 9 From Iraq

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I recently compared the war in Iraq to a bad Hollywood movie: green-lit for all the wrong reasons, way over budget and with no end in site. But in this B-movie the horrors come off the screen and unleash hell. Even Saddam mocks us from the grave. This week The New York Times has reported that images of his hanging are making him a martyr.

You would think the last three years would have sobered the President’s ambitions. But reflection, apparently, is a trait only for lesser mortals. Tonight he stood before the American people to unveil his long-awaited new plan for Iraq. He looked worn, the wrinkles on his face now cutting deep creases. The firebrand President of 9/11 was long gone. Or was he?

Bush painted the war in Iraq as “the ideological struggle of our time.” Bush sounded so sober that you could barely hear him calling for an increase in the size of the military, nation building exercises, 20,000 more troops in Iraq, and a carrier strike force to deal with Iran. Put President in the corner and he gets even more dangerous.

Bush’s plan could have come right out of the American Enterprise Institute. In fact, it probably did. The neoconservatives seemed very pleased. You can see how their eyes glow when they talk of battalions and brigades, like little boys preparing plastic, green army men for a back yard invasion. After their 2006 defeat they announced, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, that they were done "carrying water" but the most disturbing thing to me is that these people are still taken seriously. Maybe the greatest injustice is that these water boys are still given a chance to influence the team to such a powerful degree. They should be viewed in the same way we view Pat Robertson: insane.

Last week the AEI produced a publication entitled "Choosing Victory: a plan for success in Iraq" which called for a troop escalation. You might as well call it Plan 9 from Outer Space. These are the words from the water boys; the people who helped bring you an ill-conceived war, which has led to the deaths of thousands and the creation of a Sunni martyr, are now offering you their plan to correct it all. And the President is right there with them.

Bush’s plan flies in the face of public opinion and comes from a place where every problem has an easy solution. But here is an intractable problem. The President’s 2003 invasion has created a possible haven for terrorists, strengthened Iran, caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, thousands of Americans, and blown $400 billion dollars. And here he is speaking of widening the war, of using more military force. We should all be going to bed terrified.

The President is a living example of what happens when you fight extremists with extremism. Bush has not used self-reflection. He has not tempered his view one bit. Having committed so much already, his thinking is that just a little more will do the job. C.S. Lewis once wrote that it is not the evil person we should worry about, but the crusader causing destruction. That person cannot be reasoned with. That person will never stop.

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About FK

  • Just to clarify, here’s Einstein’s definition–

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    That’s better, eh?

  • Zedd



    Do you feel more informed now?

    What was that all about?

  • Clavos

    Nice cut-and-paste in #s 15 and 16, zedd.

    Too bad you didn’t credit the site you took it from…

    Was it here?

    Or was it here?

  • STM

    “Actually, STM, it’s the successor to our own Jeep.”

    No, I realise that Clav … and the old Landie was the British equivalent of the jeep. What I’m saying is, they are both used for the same job and both are inappropriate for what they are being tasked with (I realise the Humvee is a GM design native to the US … )

    I worked on a story recently explaining how troops are being exposed to danger in their Land Rovers … much like their American counterparts.

  • Clavos

    The problem with the Humvee is that it’s just the American version of the British Army’s Land Rover

    Actually, STM, it’s the successor to our own Jeep.

    The Jeep got its name because its original government nomenclature in WWII was Truck, 4X4, General Purpose, which was shortened to “GP” and ultimately “JEEP”, which is now a trade name ironically owned by Daimler Benz/Chrysler.

  • STM

    Zedd wrote: “the Army wants to buy something on the commercial market — South Africa, Turkey and Australia all make alternatives.”

    Don’t know about the Turks, but the japies have a good one that utilises their previous experience (through their patrols in places like Soweto during apartheid … well, at least one good thing came out of it).

    The Australian Army has a vehicle called the Bushmaster, which is a very big (truck sized), fast and very heavily armoured 4WD that can operate in all terrain and carries a good number of troops. It was designed for rapid deployment under fire in inhospitable terrain.

    The problem with the Humvee is that it’s just the American version of the British Army’s Land Rover (which is also used by the Australian Army, but not for that kind of work) and was never designed for the job it’s doing at the moment in Iraq.

    I don’t know that much about the Humvee but I know the Brits have been armouring their Land Rovers over there, with about as much success as the Americans are having with their Humvees. Both are excellent vehicles, but for other purposes.

    Neither vehicle was designed to take the impact of RPGs and roadside bombs …

    Yes, the US does need to look at alternatives. More soldiers will die if they don’t.

  • Oh Clavos…I am so getting a chuckle. but enough of the “in” jokes.

    For Elvira in #17, I do think it was Einstein’s definition of insanity.

  • Clavos

    Damn, I knew it.

    And no, he’s not, Suss.

    Mark’s a “cheapskate.” (NOT my word)

    (Sorry, Mark–In Diet Coke Veritas–not my fault)

  • Subtle.

  • Bliffle,

    I wouldn’t worry about Gonzo. He’s rakin’ in some serious dough.

  • Terrific stuff, Fred. What is it they say: the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results?

  • Zedd

    The Humvee stands as a metaphor for the problems the Army faces. First fielded in the early 1980s, it was designed to ferry soldiers around behind the front lines of a conventional war. In recent years, the vehicle, which troops drive on the streets of Iraq, has been modified countless times. The Army has bolted layers of armor onto it to protect troops from roadside bombs. It has added sophisticated electronic jammers, rotating turrets, bigger machine guns, satellite navigational systems and better radios.

    The result is a Humvee that is much better than the version the Army took to Iraq in 2003. But the add-ons have driven up its cost. The modified vehicle is top heavy and tends to tip over at high speeds. Army officials say they can’t add more weight without overwhelming the engine or breaking the axle.

    “The Army recognizes that the Humvee has reached a limit of our ability to improve it for the current fight,” Gen. Speakes says.

    What the Army says it really needs is an all-new vehicle, designed to better withstand roadside bombs that have become part of life in Iraq. But such a vehicle likely won’t be ready until 2010 or 2012, Army officials say. In the interim, the Army wants to buy something on the commercial market — South Africa, Turkey and Australia all make alternatives. Yet it’s not clear whether the Army, which is struggling to equip the current force, has the money

  • Zedd

    The median lifetime cost of a soldier is about $4 million today and growing, according to a Pentagon study

    The Pentagon today owes its soldiers $653 billion in future retirement benefits that it cannot presently pay

    The cost of basic equipment that soldiers carry into battle — helmets, rifles, body armor — has more than tripled to $25,000 from $7,000 in 1999.

    — The cost of a Humvee, with all the added armor, guns, electronic jammers and satellite-navigational systems, has grown seven-fold to about $225,000 a vehicle from $32,000 in 2001.

    — The cost of paying and training troops has grown 60 percent to about $120,000 per soldier, up from $75,000 in 2001. On the reserve side, such costs have doubled since 2001, to about $34,000 per soldier.

    Whos taxing and spending?

  • Zedd

    Well done!

  • Painted into a corner [yes, he did the painting himself], Bush faces disaster either way: whether he stubbornly ‘stays the course’ or, gulp, appears to reverse direction and take the advice of others. So he chooses the former, totally in character. But if this indeed just postpones the inevitable, we will at least have a Democratic president in two years time.

    But I’m not sure that’s a job any sane person would want, in the world Bush will have left us with.

  • No denunciation needed, Bliffle.

    And “walked off”? You missed the clues. Hit the thread in the link and *he* will answer anything you ask, himself. This thread ain’t the place.

  • Bliffle

    Well, that’s strange. Gonzo seems to have just walked off without even a decent denunciation of anyone. Oh well.

  • Nancy

    Ah, no wonder I couldn’t find him: he migrated to the intellectual division, out of my depth.

  • Kind of off topic, but here you go, Bliffle

    And objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

  • Bliffle

    Whatever happened to Gonzo? He just sorta disappeared.

  • About a year ago, somebody said all this stuff.

    All that has occurred twixt then and now, and all the smoke blown up our collective asses by the noise machines.

    Just who is really “crazy” in retrospect?

  • Nancy

    Which reminds me: there was a recent cover on Time magazine which trumpeted “WHY BUSH WILL HAVE TO LISTEN” just after the committee recommendations were published. Boy, I’ll be their faces are red over at Time, Inc.

  • Nancy

    Same old “stay the course” shit, just in slightly different words with the hope that most Americans are too stupid to listen or understand, & gullible enough to still stand up & salute whatever bullshit ideas W/Cheney run up the flagpole. As the Italians say, ‘basta!’ – enough! Bush has become like a gambling addict at a quarter machine: feed it enough quarters & its GOT to come through, I’m due for a payoff any time now, etc. etc. etc. Trouble is, in his case it ain’t quarters, it’s American lives he’s wasting on his addiction. He doesn’t even have the decency to put his own family members at risk, or himself for that matter, while Cheney, the true psycho power behind the throne, lives in a series of hidey-holes so secure even the NSA isn’t sure where he is half the time.

    D’oh said on another thread congress won’t dare to cut or deny funding, to avoid appearing not to support the troops, but I think the public are marginally intelligent enough now they seem to be paying attention, to make the difference between supporting the troops – mainly by not exposing them to further or escalated danger – and supporting Bush’s bloody addictions.

  • Well-written and succinct analysis of the situation. And, once more, Bush refuses to listen to reason.

  • Very good point, once W hit the part of the speech where he was still stating the neocon goal of “bringing freedom” to whomever, I knew his true colors had shown.

    Folks, we are just straight fucked, and they didn’t even have the decency to buy us a Happy Meal and kiss us first.

  • Damn good piece! I got nothing to add.

  • Bliffle

    Since we don’t actually have 20,000 new soldiers to send to Iraq, some analysts are speculating that they will lengthen the rotation duration from 12 to 16 months. That’ll be a morale disaster.