Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Bush’s Speech

Here is last night’s speech in full. I thought the speech was sober and workman-like and full of constancy, unflinching and optimistic. It was a good speech. These were things he had to say considering: 1) the bashing he has been taking from both the media and the Demos; 2) that things in Iraq are a little tougher militarily than we had hoped they would be; 3) that the rebuilding effort in Iraq is really a building effort, the infrastructure was in much worse shape than we knew, the darn thing was held together by band-aids; 4) that Iraq is part of the effort to fight terror world-wide. I also liked the fact that he asked for more money, and was specific about it. The fact that he didn’t ask for more troops is probably because he is waiting to see how the UN gambit works out; if it doesn’t, I am betting he’ll ask for some more troops.

It seems to me that those of us who are generally supportive of the administration with regard to the war effort at least, ought to keep in mind that the hits he takes from his political opponents (and from the elite media, who only report body counts) is par for the course. As Winston said, when there is a great deal of free speech, there is always a certain amount of foolish speech. This is to be expected, even if it is irritating. It is especially irritating when it slips from one thing to the next, now it’s you haven’t found bin Laden, now it’s a quagmire, now it’s not enough troops, now it’s no WMD’s, now it’s no uranium from Africa, now it’s a quagmire, now it’s being unilateral, now it’s not being able to do anything about the Palestinian-Israeli problem, now it’s a quagmire, now it’s you are an incompetent idiot, now it’s we can’t trust you, and, by the way, you are spending much-too-much money on the war, and the economy is in a depression, you are the worst president since Hoover, and so on. You get the drift: criticism, always tending toward despair. Now, if you are a GOP party guy only interested in Bush’s re-election, I don’t think this should worry you. This tactical uncertainty (and lack of strategic insight) on the part of his opponents shows they have no idea what’s going on, and, even more important, they would not know what to do if they were in charge. I am not worried about them. Those that speak breathe despair with every other breath do not prosper. What should concern the rest of us, is whether or not the administration is doing the right things regarding the war. Have they made the right decisions, and are they carrying them out? What should we be willing to give up, if anything, in order to get some UN support? On such matters, we can get into large disputations, and we should. In the meantime, I see no reason why W. and his people shouldn’t be trusted. They know we are at war, and this is serious. Sometimes their stern and mostly thoughtful view doesn’t get through the clutter. I think it did last night, and the President’s view may be authoritative again for another week or so; until another death in Iraq indicates--at least to his strategically dull tactical adversaries--that maybe we are in a quagmire and are already spending as much on this war as we spent on Vietnam, never mind World War II. And then something new will happen and his opponents will re-calibrate their tactical rhetoric again. And we’ll do it all over. Isn’t this fun?

Discussions - 2 Comments

Looks like the UN is back... you just know the french are loving every second of it. Why don’t we just send more U.S. troups? As I am sure Winston Churchill would have said: Send me to the action.

"Looks like the UN is back... you just know the french are loving every second of it. Why don’t we just send more U.S. troups? As I am sure Winston Churchill would have said: Send me to the action."

Because the "cupboard is bare", there ain’t no more U.S. troops to send. "Thank you, President Clinton." This is the real tactical problem with "An Army of One!" While "corpoarte downsizing" was a good thing for American business, based on productivity gains, once the "force-multiplier" effect of smart weapons defeats the enemies conventional miltary, you still need "boots on the ground" to provide security and "civil administration" duties for the defeated enemy territory.

This was the wrong "lesson learned" from the first Gulf War, which ended without a "surrender and occupation". The Clinton Administration looked at the results of the swifted victory and the apparent redundant "legs" divisions in the U.S. Military, and decided to "downsize". The U.S. Army is between 12 and 20 divisions too small right now. Were these "downsized" divisions available, troops could be rotated out of Iraq and Afghanistan on a reasonable schedule - allowing for necessary R&R and "training up" for the next campaign in the "War on Terrorism". The skills necessary for fighting on the "high tech" battlefield are very perishable and need to practiced to be most effective. This can’t be done "in the field" when you are performing "police and administrative" ops. However, without these missing divisions, we will need to go, "hat in hand" to the U.N. to get the required relief.

Of course, if folks like India had come through as promised pre-"Operation Iraqi Freedom", the "kiss the French" effort at the U.N. would not be necessary. Personally, I think the U.S. should create an Iraq Re-Construction International Contractors’ "Short Lists" where one of the most important qualitfications for inclusion would be the relative size of the contractor’s home country’s military (troop) participation in support of the Coalition in Iraq. If Bremer would organize that, I’ll bet we would not have beg the U.N. for its blessing to get the job done!

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