Thursday, December 16, 2004

LOYALTIES

What is it with Republican politicians? It seems they like to eat their own! You've got Trent Lott, John McCain (well, I already know the answer to that one since McCain has a huge ego and anger management 'issues'), Arlen Spector, Bill Kristol....the list goes on and on. Republican supporters came out in droves to vote on Nov. 2 and it paid off. But now the nitpicking is starting and it isn't pretty. Remember when William Jefferson Clinton was up for impeachment? Did you hear about any Democrats condemning him? Voting for impeachment? No. Guess the Republican Lights have no loyalty even though conservatives got them elected. I tell ya, each time I see this it makes me more and more jaded towards the Republican Party. You got George Bush endorsing Kofi Anan, against the House Republicans. Looking to Joe Lieberman as a Cabinet member, what Conservative Republican did Clinton or Carter ever appoint? Also, George Bush leaves in place one of the most worthless Cabinet members Norman Minetta as Secretary of Transportation!! He's a freakin' liberal. If Bill Kristol thinks that 'Mainstream' America thinks like Kristol, I've got a great bog in Northern Minnesota for Bill to purchase. I'm so sick and tired of this bandwagon to fire Rumsfeld. Armchair quarterbacks - all of them. Has Rumsfeld done every thing perfect, no. How will Rumsfeld look in 20 or 30 years. I'm guessing pretty darn shrewd and more than amazing myself. But David Frum makes some excellent points in this column.

David Frum's Diary on National Review Online

DEC. 16, 2004: LOYALTIES
2. On the other hand, not everything that has been called a mistake really was a mistake.

A second example: It's often said that the US made a mistake dissolving the Iraqi army in 2003. I'll concede that it was probably an error to stop paying salaries to former soldiers and (especially) officers. ....... But as we saw at Fallujah in April 2004, trusting them would probably have had consequences even more disastrous than firing them.

3. Some of the problems of the post 9/11 period can be traced to specific decisions by specific individuals. You can indeed blame Donald Rumsfeld for sending too-few troops to Iraq - if you think that the number of troops is too few, and that this fewness was an important cause of the failure to contain the insurgency (two large and I'd suggest maybe over-simplified assumptions).

Other mistakes can be blamed on other individuals who usually escape censure: Tommy Franks, for example, who rejected demands of Pentagon civilians to plan for war's aftermath (on the age-old bureaucratic principle that it wasn't his department) - and indeed retired almost as soon as Baghdad fell. It was Franks too who insisted on micro-managing the battle for Tora Bora from his office in Qatar, more than 1200 miles away. Or on Louis Freeh who ran the FBI through the years when it was failing to notice the warning signs of 9/11. Or Bill Lann Lee, the assistant attorney general for civil rights in the late 1990s, whose office forbade the Department of Transportation to proceed with passenger screeding techniques that would have caught the 9/11 hijackers on the ground. Etc.

4. Beyond that, though, the faults begin to look less personal and more institutional. Richard Clarke's memoir is actually quite good on this point: He describes again and again how the Army balked at carrying out unconventional missions against al Qaeda. When President Clinton called for plans, the Army presented him with scenarios based on a five-division expeditionary force - and Clinton flinched, which is what the scenario was intended to make him do.

You get the idea from David Frum. It's a good entry.


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