TCS Daily

Bush Risks Losing Control of Iraq Policy

By Robert Haddick - January 2, 2007 12:00 AM

Entering 2007, President George W. Bush possesses all of the powers that Article II of the U.S. Constitution grants the president. But Mr. Bush is now finding out that there are new limits on his authority, a sharp change from the wide-ranging freedom of action he previously enjoyed. As much as he wants to reinforce the American strategy in Iraq boldly, the new restraints on his authority will likely cause Mr. Bush's new plan for Iraq to be more of a tepid rehash. After it becomes clear that the White House and Pentagon's exhaustive policy review has produced a plan than is neither imaginative nor effective, Mr. Bush will then likely lose control over Iraq policy to an energized Congress, just as happened with respect to the Vietnam conflict between 1973 and 1975.

President Bush and his advisors seem committed to the current strategy of political reconciliation, institution-building, reconstruction, and counterinsurgency in Iraq. A recent report from the Washington Times explains how few new ideas have emerged from the long policy review. Mr. Bush and his advisors are trying to re-energize the current strategy. But the news reports about the Bush administration's strategy review show harsh constraints binding President Bush and his administration.

A recent article from the New York Times discussed the practicalities of the troop "surge" option. In order to boost U.S. troop levels by 17,000 to 20,000, Pentagon planners are considering extending the deployment of two Marine regiments in Anbar province past their current February departure date. In addition, planners may move forward the deployment of several Army brigades already slated to arrive in Iraq next spring. Such tinkering with long-set deployment schedules will only yield a few months' boost in troop levels, during which time enemy insurgents and militias can easily hide from temporarily increased American patrols.

The schedule-fiddling suggested in the New York Times and Washington Times is far away from the 30,000 soldier, 18-month commitment recommended by General Jack Keane, USA (ret.) and Mr. Frederick W. Kagan, the leading proponents of the "surge" strategy. Although it remains to be seen what exactly Mr. Bush will propose, it seems unlikely that the President will be able to implement the Keane/Kagan recommendation.

Although General Keane and Mr. Kagan argue otherwise, U.S. ground forces are in no position to add 30,000 troops to Iraq for 18 months. The current rotation policy is already depriving U.S. Army and Marine Corps units of necessary home station time for retraining and unit cohesion building. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have openly expressed their objections to the surge option. General Peter Schoomaker, the Army Chief of Staff, has warned that the active-duty Army will soon "break" and that he has told the President that he opposes a surge to Iraq. General James Conway, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, has expressed the same reservations. If President Bush ordered a "surge" deployment to Iraq that the Joint Chiefs or other senior generals considered both harmful and unproductive, it is certainly possible that there could be dramatic resignations among the Chiefs or other senior flag officers. General Schoomaker himself would be a prime candidate for this act - he reluctantly came out of retirement at Secretary Rumsfeld's urging, has served a full tour in his current billet, and has nothing more to prove.

President Bush must also consider Congress and its appropriation powers in Article I of the Constitution. At a minimum, large minorities and perhaps slim majorities currently exist in Congress opposing the "surge" option. We can be certain that one of the first acts of the new Democratic committee chairmen will be to hold hearings on Iraq policy, hearing that will get eager coverage from the media. The Joint Chiefs will be perhaps the first panel to testify, and Senators will ask the generals to repeat their concerns about the "surge" option and the negative effect it would have on military readiness, contingency planning, and strategic risk. After the generals deliver that testimony, it would then be safe for Republican members to side with the military and oppose the President, should the President want something resembling the risky Keane/Kagan plan. It would then be a simple matter for Congress to impose, through the appropriations process, a cap on the number of American troops permitted in Iraq.

The President originally hoped to reveal a new policy for Iraq earlier in December. This was postponed to after Christmas, then into early January. Each day Mr. Bush is finding new political constraints, previously unfamiliar, now tightening around him. These constraints will force his new policy to be both a disappointment to nearly everyone and ineffective.

It will also be the last attempt at Iraq history will offer to Mr. Bush. After that, for better or for worse, committee chairman on Capitol Hill will likely determine America's strategy in Iraq.

The author was a U.S. Marine Corps infantry company commander and staff officer. He was the global research director for a large private investment firm and is now a private investor. His blog is Westhawk.



Shifting the blame
You can argue Iraq strategy, but it's wrong to blame the incoming Democratic Congress for the Bush fiasco. Bush is perfectly able to go to bat for an unpopular idea (e.g. privitizing social security). If he's not asking for something in Iraq, it's because he doesn't want it.

It's depressing to read of our "current strategy of political reconciliation, institution-building, reconstruction, and counterinsurgency." We're going backward in all those areas. The current strategy seems to be to run out the clock and blame the disaster on Bush' Democratic successor.

3 1/2 years into the war, deepening failure obvious - why shouldn't Bush lose control?
The whole enterprise has turned into one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history. But the idea is we should just cut slack and trust the blunderers to do better?

A Change In The Nature of The Conflict
The goal of Suni/Shiite reconciliation has definitely slid into a worse state of affairs. We don't have a large drafted American Army to occupy the country. We don't have 100,000 UAV's maintaining 24 hour surveillance of the entire country.

How the Left broke the US military
A surge strategy can't win because it is temporary but the issue that has become crystal clear is that the Left has broken the military. By cutting it by 50% it can no longer do the job it is supposed to. It can either be reduced or defend us against the Canadian and Mexican armies, though not necessarily both at the same time. It is so small that even 100,000 men in Iraq has caused the reserves to be used and the military to be stretched badly which demonstrates that the US can't even wage a mid sized war let alone a major war any more. Bush and the Left have triopled aid to Africa to over 4 billion or the cost of two new divisions. At a time when the military is in such sad state how can anyone justify more blackhole spending to regimes like Zimbabwe?

The surge strategy is a joke when you have imposed more constraints on the troops in Iraq then were used in Vietnam. Of course we are dealing with an opponent whose main tactic seems to be shooting from behind women and children but this only highlights the need to get serious and win the war. Lawyers and the white wine and brie crowd be damned unless we wish to see another cut and run exitthat led to a decade of our foes expansion and increased their aggressiveness.

What Bush needs to do is adopt a military policy that makes sense and increase the size of the military to meet our needs and stop pretending that the US military can wage two wars at the same time.

So Rumsfeld was part of the Left??
Rumsfeld's been the one in charge of decisions on the size and configuration of the military since Clinton left office in 2000 - that's seven years ago. If he saw that we had a force that was too small, he didn't say so then. He didn't say so even after 9/11.

Instead, Rumsfeld deliberately opted against increasing the size of the military, and particularly ground forces, in favor of a doctrine that would use technology instead of boots for military effect. It was his plan for Iraq, not Clintons. The administration has consistently said that more troops were not needed in Iraq. This has been repeated and repeated and repeated, and not by Bill or HIllary, but by the Vice President and the now-departed Rummy.

If the US now decides that the armed forces have to be enlarged and reconfigured that has nothing, zero, zip to do with Clinton's decisions and even bringing his name into the debate at this point as the scapegoat is beyond ridiculous.

400 leaders
If you think congress can do a better job you better think again. There is a reason the constitution makes one man commander in chief and that is to avoid 400 commanders each with a political agenda. You cannot have congress run a war. As to the worst blunder in history I think that still remains to be seen. 5 years is nothing in the expanse of time.

Ummm, better read again. The Clinton administration gutted the military for the so called "Peace Dividend" which was BS for shifting defense spending to social programs which libs love to do. The weapon systems were largely based upon a large scale conflict in Europe (armoured divisions, etc). However, the change to light mobile divisions started under the Clinton era with such programs as RFPI and Future Combat Systems, now called Unit of Action. Thus when Bush took over he inherited a largely ineffective force with low moral and in a state of change with no tried and true methodologies. The changes we have made are large and ongoing. To claim that Rumsfeld and Bush have utterly failed in military terms is inaccurate. We are not fighting a war in the true sense now. Were this raging combat I suspect we would be winning handily. Rather we have trancended into the realm of politics and occupation. My feeling is the endless political bellyaching by the left in this country has led to a large portion of the violence over there since they know we have Vietnam syndrome. I suspect that we will lose any future conflicts until the price of loss becomes national survival. Until then apparently we will accept more deaths than Pearl Harbor as a mere police action.

Bush' Democratic successor
Will it be a Democrat?

Problem is, 400 is better than zero
And that's what we have now. The White House has failed every test since the capture of Baghdad. Nothing has gone the way they said it would. It's not just a single decision to go to war, it's a ongoing record of gross stupidity and incompetence in every category: political, military, diplomatic and intell/counterintell, economic - right down the line. The only people this war has worked out for are the contractors. And for them it's been a huge success.

Here's an interesting statistic...
The male prison population in the United States is around 2.4 million inmates. This figure includes federal, state, and county inmates. Many prisons are overcrowded. If more capacity were available in U.S. prisons, the number of inmates incarcerated could probably double.

The American Government struggles to maintain a total of 100 to 150 thousand troops in Iraq. Has anybody ever heard of the draft? It was required during The Civil War, World War II, The Korean Conflict, and The Vietnam War.

Of course, I don't recommend allowing all of the convicts behind bars to finish their sentences with military service. Yet, comparing the size of the all volunteer U.S. Armed Forces to the size of the prison population may lead you to draw your own sociological conclusions.

The Romans used prisoners to fight mock wars for amusement. In one such exchange Claudius had to mock navies fight. Another a bridge was built and two opposing forces battled to the other side. The winners went free, the losers, well were dead. So lets train the all American Crips brigade or the M-7 squads and send them over to run Iraq. I bet it would be cheaper than prisons...

Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush
The fact is, the Soviet Union was no longer existent, and not a threat. Saddam Hussein had just been beaten and his forces knocked down. there was no reason not to scale back. But in fact, the scaleback was small.

>Thus when Bush took over he inherited a largely ineffective force with low moral and in a state of change with no tried and true methodologies.

When bush took over he inherited a force that had intervened with great success in Yugoslavia, and that functioned brilliantly in Afganistan and in the initial attack on Baghdad. When Bush took over he did not say the armed forces were broken.

"The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, the comprehensive review promised by candidate Bush, fell substantially short of its stated objective. It did not articulate a sweeping new strategy, it did not call for any change in existing force structure, and it did not suggest any major redirection of investment in future systems. Moreover, until the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration had not suggested any major increase in defense spending. In most respects, the review looked very much like what one might have expected from the Clinton administration. Essentially, the only major change was the increased emphasis on missile defense."

If this is incorrect, please point out how.

>To claim that Rumsfeld and Bush have utterly failed in military terms is inaccurate. We are not fighting a war in the true sense now.

Fine. They're failing at whatever we're fighting now. But if you think this is unfair, why not send a message to the the people killing our soldiers saying that they're being unfair by not fighting a war in te true sense.

> My feeling is the endless political bellyaching by the left in this country has led to a large portion of the violence over there since they know we have Vietnam syndrome. I

Feelings, nothing more than feelings
Trying to forget the facts on the ground

I mean, the MSM is covering it all up, is that the idea? Reconstruction is going perfectly, the Iraqi government is a huge success, most of the country is extremely safe. It's just the Democrats who have made the war go on. Rumsfeld got fired just because he was getting too much credit for the great job W was doing.

If anybody doubted TJ was a fool read his post. He has left us in no doubt now.
It’s a lesson on insanity. How he manages to blame the left when the right had the Presidency and both houses, yet the left still to blame for all problems.

Just wait: he's soon going to start blaming Bush 41's problems on Clinton
I mean, if your only mental tool is a hammer, the whole world is just a nail.

You seem to know a lot about the military. I worked as a contractor directly on US Army systems up until 2005 and was involved in many systems and doctrine field testing. The change to lighter mobile forces was taking place then and was internally driven by US Army planners and not the Clinton Administrations. Rapid Force Deployemnt Initiative was such a test. This took place in 1998 so that was well before Bush. I also make a living from DoD consulting so I am pretty much up to date on trends and hardware. As to the MSM it has nothing to do with rosy pictures. It has to do with the utter demoralizing of the troops and people while constantly drumbeating words like Vietnam and quagmire. Look at how Israel was portrayed against Hezbollah as the agressor when in fact the opposite was true. However, since you seem to think the media is one big positive outcome harmonic convergance I am wasting my time on the psyops used by the MSM to influence policy. If parent tells you all your life you are a failure it is likely you will be. The same holds true for nations. Global Warming is just one such Psyop.

Time lag
All dynamic systems have lag. It takes many years for one presidents policies to fully take grip. By the time another takes office he can attempt to sway the policy but due to the huge scale of the US change takes palce very slowly. To claim that the day GW Bush took office it was all his fault is faulty logic. Many years into this we can start to say the effects are coming into play but just as Clinton had to accomodate the lag of Bush #1 so did Bush #2 have to account for the same lag. That is why blaming Bush for 9-11 foolish as well. I think it is possible the US is now so large that many policies that are enacted might not be fully felt until after a second term ends. it is a problem. However, convential wisdom is that the day the new guy takes office it is all his boat to steer. Hence Clinton gets credit for the 1990's boom when he really did nothing to usher it in.

Psyops? Why not blame the Bogeyman? The media doesn't make this stuff up
The Iraqis didnt look Baghdad after the army surrendered because of the media. It's not unsafe to travel from the airport to the Green zone on the ground because of the media. Oil production and electricity aren't erratic because the media. The media didn't blow up the Samarra mosque,

Nor are the troops demoralized, particularly. They're doing a job, and doing it as well as they can.

But if you think the media are the main factor, maybe you can explain why the Soviets lost in Afghanistan. They had no opposition politicians second guessing the decision to invade. The Soviet media was totally controlled and censored by the Politburo, the army and the KGB. Demonstrations against the war were forbidden. Yet, somehow, things didn't go well. Maybe the problem was the Soviet media wasn't suppressed harshly enough.

Great system: Blank check for Republicans, automatic blame for democrats.
Sure, on inauguration day, it was Clinton's army. We're now seven years past that. We had a Secretary of Defense who was sure of himself and who had his own ideas. We had Republcians controlling the White House and the Congress. But it's all Clinton's fault?

>Hence Clinton gets credit for the 1990's boom when he really did nothing to usher it in.

Sure. he was a democrat. How could anything good be the result of something a democrat did.

Clinton gutted the military and it is not debatable. The peace dividend reduced and mothballed many assets and shifted us to a passive defensive strategy while he sold secrets to the Chinese and sucked up to N. Korea. Now we have this mess and God only knows why we have not boosted the size but I think it is coming. However, TJ is not off base by as much as you think. One of the major problems with the size of the military is the huge costs associated with growing it in a time when we are over burdened with useless social spending that is brealking our backs. If you look DoD spending is much smaller than social spending. Do you really think the Right could have gutted those precious little mandates and pork? I can imagine all the howls when little johhny crackhead lost his free lunch or Montana lost it's Beef Research Center.

Maybe it is because we weren't coming to oppress but to liberate? ALso, the media was pretty much onboard att hat time. I am also not saying that it is happening because of the media. I am saying because of the media it is worse. They give encouragement. If you see your enemy losing his will what do you do? You step up action. The fanatics in the Mid East need us to fail so they can claim they beat the great satan. There is more to this than Iraq. If you think this ends if we leave then I think you will be surprised sadly. I think it will get much worse as Iraq will fall into Anarchy and Iran will grow as the regional superpower.

Satan incarnate, with magical powers for evil!!!!
Just repeating "Bad Clinton" is ridiculous. Under Clinton, as now under Bush, we spent more each year on the military than do the next four or five or six nations combined. Yes, he did delay deploying the anti-missile system, because it did not work, though he continued development of it. To call the very small cutbacks in total spending "gutting the military" is just flat denial and partisan blamepassing.

The crap about selling secrets to China and sucking up to North Korea is just hatespeech. The North Korea policy was more effective than Bush's. The China policy is the same as Bush's.

>Do you really think the Right could have gutted those precious little mandates and pork? I can imagine all the howls when little johhny crackhead lost his free lunch or Montana lost it's Beef Research Center.

They had the votes in Congress and President Bush. But this is Clinton's fault??? C;mon.

Name me one
OK, name me one major item Clinton did to boost the economy? One policy or one item of legislation? He raised taxes. What else? Clinton was a showboat. He put his finger up and did what he needed to be popular not what was right. He was a rockstar, not a leader. There have been many Democrats who could lead but he was not one. I think his administration was a embarrasement. BJ's in the Oval Office and Albright in N. Korea. It is sickening to think back on him. Blackhawk down anyone? When the going gets tough the Democrats run every time.

So: we mad a huge mistake, but we have to go making bigger ones because admitting it would encour
You're not making sense:

>I am also not saying that it is happening because of the media. I am saying because of the media it is worse.

How? Why? You think the American public would be better served if we didn't know that there were problems?

The jihadis really don't need motivation. They don't suicide bomb because they're read about it in the NY Times. If the military and poltical and reconstructive stuff were working, that would discourage them plenty.

But what's your solution here?? Censor the press? Pretend that everything is a huge success. Hey - how about this: the MSM will say that the army won a great victory yesterday, and so that now they can all come home. Then we withdraw -- after the victory, and never do any news from Iraq again. That'll fix those jihadis, won't it??

You mean, besides balancing the budget???
Is this really complicated?

Thats because both parties are filled with spinless windbags who buy votes with our money to keep themselves in office. Is it any wonder that the bottom 50% get most of the benefits and the top 50% foot the bill? Ever look at a tax statistic? The top 50% pay 96% of taxes. SO 50% vote to spend more and more while the other 50% get soaked. The tax figures are stagering and this notion of fairness is nothing more than shifting the burden to a smaller and smaller voting block in order to perpetually elect politicians who give away money to those who pay none of the burden. The top 1% pay over a third, 34.27% of all income taxes. (Up from 2003: 33.71%) The top 5% pay 54.36% of all income taxes (Up from 2002: 53.80%). The top 10% pay 65.84% (Up from 2002: 65.73%). The top 25% pay 83.88% (Down from 2002: 83.90%). The top 50% pay 96.54% (Up from 2002: 96.50%). The bottom 50%? They pay a paltry 3.46% of all income taxes (Down from 2002: 3.50%). The top 1% is paying nearly ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%! And who earns what? The top 1% earns 16.77% of all income (2002: 16.12%). The top 5% earns 31.18% of all the income (2002: 30.55%). The top 10% earns 42.36% of all the income (2002: 41.77%); the top 25% earns 64.86% of all the income (2002: 64.37%) , and the top 50% earns 86.01% (2002: 85.77%) of all the income.

Get real
How did the MSM in 1944 portray things as opposed to today? One can read many articles back then and even though the news was grim the media had a message of victory. Today it is a message of defeatism. I can just imagine CNN at Normandy when 19000 died in one day as opposed to 3000 in 5 years.

Did he?
Only because a Republican Congress forced him into restraint.

Sure, the rich pay more. They have more. What's wrong with that?
Of course the rich pay most of the taxes. The rich have most ofthe money. If you have government expenses (and we do), and we don't want to borrow the money (the preferred Bush technique), yes, rich people will pay more.

In return, they get a stable, relative safe socieity where they can make even more money. Taxes on the rich have been much higher than they are now before, and the rich have still done really well. Likewise the well-to-do.

Right now, we're fighting a war costing about $200,000 a minute, which we're financing by putting it on the credit card while cutting taxes. Maybe that's the way your run your business; it's not the way I see successful businesses run.

If you think this is wrong or unfair, I encourage you to visit somewhere the government doesn't get much tax from the rich - Mexico, for example - and see who good a place this is to live.

Sorry, it was a deliberate plan. You may have heard of a guy named Rubin.
Taxes were raised to cover it. Panneta, Rubin, and all his top economic advisors insisted on it. Your kneejerking about all benefits coming from Republicans are wearing really, really thin.

Your guys are to easy to stir up. I am going to go veg out.

One thing was we were winning in 1944
But maybe we should have covered up Pearl Harbor so as not to demoralize the people, and suppressed the news about the Phillipines being overrun and the army there taken prisoner -- don't want to encourge the Japanese.

> I can just imagine CNN at Normandy when 19000 died in one day as opposed to 3000 in 5 years.

They'd have said the landing was a success, which it was. You just seem to prefer ignorance to hearing anything you don't want to beliee is happening.

Sure you are, and we all know why
your brain has been exposed to dangerous information that contradicts your idea that Republicans are always right, and you have to go wash it out. Bye-bye.

Don't the lower 50% need to have a stake also? Why do they get a pass? You see all is not as it seems. Example: What if last year I paid enough to put my oldest kid through 2 years of college in taxes? Now I still have to put her through so I get that expense as well as the tax bill. In addition, since I made to much I cannot qualify for any assistance at all. Hence I am burdened with huge expenses while the bottom 50% get the benenfits of my taxes with virtually no expense (or risk). Yet somehow I can afford this? My expenses are much much higher also due to this. At what point do I get tired of giving up my money and just close the business? Maybe someday you can write a 5 figure check quarterly to the IRS and see how bitter it makes you. After all, it is my innovation and hard long hours that earned this for me, not the IRS's.

And why
Why were we winning then? Maybe because we had the will to? You see, nobody even talks of winning. Only how to lose. That is the difference. Losing is preordained. I am not oppsoed to bad news. However, if we are not winning then lets figure out a winning strategy. However, the left does not want us to win. DO you? Or will you give me the define victory crap?

Wearing thin. Fun stuff.

Left and insults
How typical. The left has to always fling a nast insult. I never said Rep are always right. You assume that

Everyone pays taxes. But you don't pay taxes on expenses. And it's the government paying you!
The lower 50 percent pays 'em plenty. They just can't affort to pay as much.

as for the terrrible problems that having a larger income causes you, please accept this tiny handkerchief to dry you eyes. Those expenses?? You don't pay taxes on them, if they're business expenses.

>Maybe someday you can write a 5 figure check quarterly to the IRS and see how bitter it makes you.

And you're writing it from a six figure account. And it's the government who's paying you for those services, unless you were making up what you wrote earlier about your work as a DOD contractor. So again, please accept a tiny handkerchief.

Reality check
You never said in so many words the Republicans are always right. All you've done is to blame every single negative mentioned on Clinton, and say anything positive he achieved (a balanced budget, for example) was due to the Republicans.

But if the Republican congress was responsible for Clinton's balanced budget...
why did they fail to balance the budget under Bush?

You're arguing in a cricle
We didn't have the will because we ignired reality and disregarded failure. We were winning because we were fighting effectively, basing ourselves on reality and ruthlessly getting rid of incompetents.

>ou see, nobody even talks of winning. Only how to lose

Nobody? Everyone's been talking about it. Problem is, we seem to be in a situation where we can't figure out how to do it.

> However, if we are not winning then lets figure out a winning strategy. However, the left does not want us to win. DO you?

Of course the left does. And we won in Bosnia. Gosh, how did that happen, with Clinton running things?

>Or will you give me the define victory crap?

Why not just suggest what you think should be done to achieve it.

Here's another consequence...
...of exercising the surge option. Such a surge would no doubt be directed against the Sunni insurgents, as we have decided we are the defenders of the Shiite governing coalition-- including Sadr, Hakim and the rest. In the developing civil war we would be seen as the enemy from the Sunni point of view. And Saudi Arabia has already pretty much said that in such an instance they would intervene to support the Sunnis.

That would put us on one side of the war, along with the Iranians and the rest of the Shia Arc. Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Iraqis would be against us. Not what I would call an improvement in the situation.

Or, we could go the other way. We could try to crush Sadr, bringing down the Shiite government. Then we would find ourselves in a rapidly degenerating state of chaos, with no more government to defend. We would be beset from both sides, the anti-American Shiites and anti-American Sunnis. In that event we would have to retreat to Kurdistan and await the disposition of the Iraqi civil war. Neither side, upon winning, would have any use for us.

Best to follow the other strain of advice: smile, say please excuse us, wish them all the best and head for the helicopters.

You sure about that?
I don't recall events such as you describe.

Here's the Clinton budget proposal for 1999-- as well as the one proposed by the Republican Congress:

"The reductions in non-defense discretionary programs would be substantial under the Clinton plan and massive under the Republican plan. The Clinton budget proposes an increase for defense spending; over the next 10 years, defense spending would exceed the FY 1999 inflation-adjusted level by $110 billion. The Clinton budget includes reductions of nearly $200 billion in non-defense discretionary spending over the period. The net effect on total discretionary spending is a $89 billion reduction."

"Clinton wants biggest boost in defense spending since Reagan"

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A proposed hike in defense spending by President Bill Clinton is not presidential politics but rather the first step in fulfilling last year's pledge to add $112 billion to the defense budget over six years, Pentagon officials tell CNN.

"When Clinton unveils the federal budget next month, Pentagon sources tell CNN, he will propose spending $291 billion on defense, a hike of more than $18 billion and nearly double last year's increase.

"The nearly 7 percent increase in defense spending next year that the Clinton administration will propose is the biggest increase in the Pentagon's budget since the Reagan-era military buildup of the 1980s."

As they say, you're entitled to your own opinion. You're just not entitled to your own facts.

It has already been suggested
In 1965 the Oakland Hells Angels were piling up a lot of federal indictments. So Sonny Barger proposed instead that the US arm them and drop them into Vietnam, to fight on their bikes. His only stipulation was that they be allowed to run with their own colors.

To its detriment, the US refused this reasonable offer.

The reasons for our failure
The plain fact is that we occupied both Afghanistan and Iraq with Clinton's military. And true, there was very little resistance. But the point is that they did their job very admirably.

Out problems now in those two countries are not with military capability. It has to do with vision. We can impose no vision on those places that meets with the approval of the occupied populations. So the failure we are now experiencing comes from the White House-- not from the Pentagon.

Here's an analysis of the Clinton military I think you will find hard to fault with much credibility:


Maybe on paper
But I worked during that time on R&D for weapons systems and there were a number of reductions and short funded programs. In addition many systems were mothballed or scraped. Part of the large increases were required due to underfunding even during Bush #1, all from the so called Peace Dividend. Also, manpower costs have soared detracting from systems level development which is unavoidable. BRAC base closings are all part of the consolodation from a Soviet threat to a regioal conflict approach. My main complaints with Clinton are that he was a phony rock star president who acted like a scumbag. BJ's in the Whitehouse, while not illegal, are pretty low class for the President of the US. Being discreet is the better part of valor as they say. His ilk did many things that were pretty much typical of the MTV mentality and i think he ignored anything that didn't make people like him or feel good. He was form without substance.

It is to late
Bosnia is a little different and the ground intervention was minimalist. Iraq is a huge undertaking. If you think Clinton did so well then Elect Hillary and well see what her highness can do. Figuring out what to do involves stepping on someones toes and we are in a PC moment. Nobody can do anything without some side effect that is politically paralyzing and there lies the issue. The solution may be the draft and 750,000 troops. If that is the solution are you willing to go? It may involved ruthless hunting of insurgents which may kill innocents? Would you support this? It might require air strikes against Iran and Syria? It might just take time and patience like we are doing? Are we losing or just sort of in a limbo? Define losing? Dunno but I suspect any real solution would be politically unbearable. The failure is not military here, it is political. Since you seem to think everyone in charge is incompetent then why don't you send a resume. Who talks of winning? I only see talk of how we lost so we need a graceful exit.

Bottom line: blame the Democrats
the Bush White House invades without a plan for reconstruction, can't put one together, fiddles while the situation deteriorates and now is out of options. So what's your response:

1. Badmouth Hillary Clinton
2. Say "PC" is somehow responsible for the bad outcome
3. Bring up options that, if they are the answer, shouldn't have been shot down by Rumsfeld repeatedly. The general who said we needed more troops was hustled into retiredment.

And then we have a mixed bag:

>It may involved ruthless hunting of insurgents which may kill innocents? Would you support this?

If you mean leveling a city in order to kill a hundred combantants, probably not. Would you?

> It might require air strikes against Iran and Syria?

Great idea: make a bigger war, against two other countries. Do we invade them too?

>The failure is not military here, it is political.

Sure is. And the White House were the people who didn't recognize this.

>Since you seem to think everyone in charge is incompetent then why don't you send a resume.

I voted with the majority. Let's see what happens.

> Who talks of winning? I only see talk of how we lost so we need a graceful exit.

Again: tell us how we do this convincingly, and maybe people will liisten. Whining isn't making a case.

No I did not. Rather I simply pointed out that he is not without sin. Bush gets blamed for every single item including, but not limited to, hurricanes. Yet somehow Clinton is above question and I get tired of it. You people would defend his record to the death without question and yet I am a ignorant right wing nut because I point out that he is not a puritan. I don't blame everything on CLinton, don't make such broad statements. It think Bush has made plenty. In fact, I don't think I have even hardly mentioned party affiliations. All parties are guilty of idiocy. I can point to many stupid ideas on both sides. Big Dig anyone? They are all guilty as sin. That is why I think we need term limits.

Lower 50% pays plenty? How do you figure? If they pay only 4% of all taxes how is that plenty?

You passed
You passed the test. I crafted the post to see how you responded and you were as expected. You fall into one of two catagories I seem to meet.

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