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Author Topic: Rummy gets hammered
ed
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ATW quoth:

"a reporter should have been able to do his own research and figure out what's going on rather than scheming to grab a headline. if nothing else, being aware of the congressional testimony on the issue from over the previous months."

whatever in the world are you talking about, ATW? a reporter shouldn't look for a story that warrants a headline? really? you have an interesting idea of how reporters ought to do their jobs.

why do you have a problem w/ what was done here? you're proving to be an administration apologist, a role i wouldn't have expected for you given that bush is about as fiscally conservative as a sailor on shore leave.

ed

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Everard
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Just out of curiosity, did anyone notice the rapid response to this from the pentagon?


They signed the order for increased production of armored vehicles.

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Adam Masterman
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To sort of jump on with ed, I have to say I find it difficult to understand how people could have a problem with what this reporter did. Its simply a fact that this administration does not answer difficult questions. Period. If you feel like the American people have a right to question their government, then what's the problem? The fact that the reporter had to go to certain lengths to get his question asked is a condemnation of the ADMINISTRATION and their disregard of accountability. I wish more reporters would grow a pair for a change.
Adam
p.s. And how many people really think that the entire crowd was promted to cheer and applaud the question? [Roll Eyes]

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ed
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ev: hadn't noticed that, thanks. for my part, i'm glad to hear that. if soldiers are to implement US policy, they must have the appropriate tools to do so.

adam: i think that only ATW is really questioning the reporter's motivations. and re: your postscript: cuz, you know, active duty soldiers are renowned for their willingness to do whatever the media tells 'em to do, after all... :>

ed

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
I have to say I find it difficult to understand how people could have a problem with what this reporter did. Its simply a fact that this administration does not answer difficult questions. Period.

IMO, reporters should be reporting the news. Reporters should not be trying to create media sensations rather than reporting the news.

The armored vehicle situation in Iraq was covered in excruciating detail by General (his rank IIRC) Shumaker in a month of testimony before congress.

The reporter could have taken the information from that testimony and written a story. Or the reporter could have gathered the information and written a relevant piece similar to the news story I linked to in my last post.

Instead, he coached a soldier to ask a question, the answer to which the reporter already knew, because the question would cause a sensation coming from a soldier.

The HUMVEE, for example, had in the last 18 months gone from 235 armored to over 15,000 armored on the day the reporter had the soldier ask the question.

The soldiers in the room didn't know that. They're somewhat busy and don't work for a news organization with easy access to information or the freedom to go up and down the chain of command asking questions.


"If you feel like the American people have a right to question their government, then what's the problem? The fact that the reporter had to go to certain lengths to get his question asked is a condemnation of the ADMINISTRATION and their disregard of accountability."


The reporter had to go to lengths NOT to get his question asked but rather to get his question asked *to Rumsfeld*.

The reporter is embedded with a unit in Iraq. He can get the answers to his question. What he can't get is access to ask questions of the Secretary of Defense, who has a knack for being quotable but who usually isn't in Iraq.

This was the reporter's one big chance to create a stir and he took advantage of it.

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Sancselfieme
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Maybe some sansensationalism is required since normal news reporting didn't seem to stimulate the government into getting that armor ordered.
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ed
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ATW quoth:

"IMO, reporters should be reporting the news. reporters should not be trying to create media sensations rather than reporting the news."

and your feeling is that the times didn't cover that story when general shumaker gave his testimony? come now, ATW. the times prides itself on being a paper of record. if the reporter turned in a story that was a re-hash of something that happened already months ago, is that story getting run?

on the plus side, this story is actually useful to the administration: it helps contradict the idea that embedded reporters are less objective vis a vis non-embedded reporters.

ed

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by ed:
the times prides itself on being a paper of record. if the reporter turned in a story that was a re-hash of something that happened already months ago, is that story getting run?


The Chattanooga Times Free Press prides itself on being a paper of record? Because that's who the reporter works for.

In any case, if the reporter has nothing but a rehash to turn in, then he should look into doing a human interest story.

I *don't* think reporters should be try manufacturing controversies just because its a slow news day.

===========

BTW, even after the last HUMVEE gets up-armored, I wouldn't expect soldiers to quit scavenging for more armor. They're getting shot at. They're going to bolt every scrap of scrap onto any vehicle that's not 100% bulletproof.

Vaguely amusing unrelated side note, I was trying to get a good photo of a Swift boat in use in Vietnam. In searching, I found photos but with crap piled or tied all over them.

On the third or fourth site I hit, the guy who owned the site apologized that you could barely see the boat under the debris. He explained that they'd pile or tie anything onto the boat that had the slightest chance of stopping a bullet because the armor was crap.

[ December 13, 2004, 12:43 PM: Message edited by: ATW ]

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ed
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OK, mea culpa: for some reason i thought he was a NYT reporter.

ATW quoth: "in any case, if the reporter has nothing but a rehash to turn in, then he should look into doing a human interest story."

and this isn't? :> soldiers who are in harm's way at the order of their commander-in-chief don't have adequate equipment to do their job doesn't qualify in your mind as human interest? ATW, this story is news. you don't have to like the fact. but it's certainly something that people ought to know.

on the side note: that's funny.

ed

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by ed:

ATW quoth: "in any case, if the reporter has nothing but a rehash to turn in, then he should look into doing a human interest story."

and this isn't? :> soldiers who are in harm's way at the order of their commander-in-chief don't have adequate equipment to do their job doesn't qualify in your mind as human interest? ATW, this story is news. you don't have to like the fact. but it's certainly something that people ought to know.


He'd already written that story as a human interest piece and it was published in his paper a week or two before he created this uproar with Rumsfeld.

Like I said, I don't mind the news. I do mind the hype.

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ed
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[shrugs]

it would appear that there is naught left but to agree to disagree.

ed

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Like I said, I don't mind the news. I do mind the hype.

Why not? As far as I can see, the "hype" does two things: focuses accountability where it BELONGS, on the architects of this war, and it creates a little sensation for this particular reporter. I could understand your p.o.v. if the reporter had done something unethical or harmful in order to further his career. In this case, however, he did something extremely patriotic, i.e. he pieced the veil of secrecy and forced a member of the administration to answer a real question regarding their responsibility to their country. Remember, this is the same administration that started requiring loyalty oaths. I have yet to hear an administration apologist argue either that a. this admin is NOT one of the most secretive in history or b. how this secrecy is not a perversion of the ideals of self government. Love him or hate him, Clinton never forced reporters to act like CIA agents in order to ask questions to men in power, nor did Reagan or Bush I.
Adam

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ATW
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I think what the reporter did was unethical. Your mileage may vary.


And piercing what veil of secrecy? There was recent military testimony in front of congress about it and the reporter had already written a story about it and had it published. What secrecy?


If the reporter hadn't been able to get his story published like some freelancers have faced in prior wars and the military had been doing nothing to remedy the situation, I could forgive the hype.

As it is, what is the reporter is creating the hype about? Basically a load of crap: trying to make it sound like the military isn't doing anything when in fact they've been making progress at an impressive clip.

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ed
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ATW quoth: "what is the reporter is creating the hype about? basically a load of crap: trying to make it sound like the military isn't doing anything when in fact they've been making progress at an impressive clip."

really? even though as i noted in the follow-up story earlier in this thread that the armor manufactureres received no requests from the pentagon to increase armor production?

sorry, but the only crap i'm seeing here is your dogged insistence that this guy did something wrong. i may need to contact the manufacturer, our mileages are varying so much.

ed

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ATW
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http://www.spj.org/ethics_code.asp

excerpt from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics


Journalists should:

Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.

Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.

Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.

Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story

Never plagiarize.

Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.

Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.

Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

===========

"the only crap i'm seeing here is your dogged insistence that this guy did something wrong. i may need to contact the manufacturer, our mileages are varying so much."


After reading the above code of ethics for journalists, would you care to respond again?

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ed
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and yet, ATW, you didn't include what prefaces all of that: "journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information" [emphasis mine].

you seem to feel, based on the items you chose to render in boldface, that:

1. there was misrepresentation in the article.
2. the event was misleading or staged.
3 information was available through traditional methods and that the journalist in question did not avail himself of it.
4. the article is more advocacy than reporting.
5. the article is more advertising than reporting.

i have explained previously that our mileages vary. i chose a not very nice way of saying that above, for which i apologize: i was feeling snarky but that's no excuse. sorry about that: it was beneath me.

you, however, are the one making a claim here. i believe that puts the burden on you to make an argument.

ed

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ATW
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The reporter staged the whole incident. IIRC from the stories the soldier who asked the question and the reporter have both admitted that the reporter planned it. I'm not sure where anyone could get that he didn't stage it without contradicting them.

As for the information being available through other methods, I've already pointed out the congression testimony on the subject and the substantive news stories that other media outlets were able to do from traditional sources within hours of the Rumsfeld incident.

========

I'm posting kind of slow this morning due to other demands on my time.

You're right that Rumsfeld's explanation of the delay doesn't square with your news story that the armor could be manufactured more rapidly.

Rumsfeld either
1) lied
2) or doesn't know all the details of everything that anybody might ask off the top of his head and answered as best as he could remember (I'll admit to my memory being like that. I've got factoids gathered over decades that I've got to not only retrieve but also remember which ones are the most current.)

If you don't feel like cutting Rumsfeld any slack, he lied.


Now your news story could mean that the military has purposely delayed getting the vehicles armored. But if that were the case, I'd have expected that anti-Bush congressmen to have raised a howl during testimony.


At the risk of being accused (again) of being a Bush apologist, it theorhetically could mean there was a different bottleneck in the process besides getting the armor manufactured.

Shipping is always a problem when staging an operation on the other side of the world. However, a more likely culprit is the number of trained mechanics the military has installing the armor upgrades.

Just on the HUMVEE over the last 18 months, they've averaged armoring up over 800 per month. And there's several other classes of vehicles they're armoring up at the same time.

And there's other demands on the military's mechanic's personnel besides installing armor. They also have to keep the several hundred thousand other military vehicles running in a desert environment. The army can't grind to a halt for a few months while the mechanics are busy doing something besides keeping the vehicles running.

They can train more people on armor installation but you have to pull people off of installing armor and put them to work training (losing productivity on the front end while soldiers are getting killed hoping to make it up on the back end when people are complaining about how long its taking). Then you have to have the lifts, hoists, and other tools necessary to manhandle the armor into place and install it for those new workers.

==================

Maybe I'm a total Pollyana.

I don't think Rumsfeld spends his time coming up with conspiracies to make sure US troops are slaughtered.

I don't think the military would come up with a conspiracy to protect Rumsfeld if he were behaving like that.

I don't think the US military comes up with its own conspiracies to kill US soldiers.

The military for the most part is run by a bureaucracy. I've spent decades being unimpressed at the glacial speed the military bureaucracy responds to needs and make changes.

So does that mean that I'm unduely impressed when they manage to accomplish a lot in a relatively short amount of time? Perhaps. But it could be that other people aren't impressed enough because they don't realize the contrast.

[ December 14, 2004, 11:04 AM: Message edited by: ATW ]

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ed
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ATW:

the military bureaucracy is not famous for its efficiency, i agree. please understand that's not a criticism which i am making. i may not like rumsfeld, but that doesn't mean i think he's actually guilty of treason. there are plenty of reasons for me not to like him that do not rely upon demonizing him. :>

that said, i believe there's another option: rumsfeld has not issued those instructions for reasons neither of us understands at this time. a few possible ones, and i'm just speculating, mind:

1. it just isn't in the budget
2. they're evaluating just how much to ask for (admittedly unlikely, since he'd have said as much if asked).

as to the article, let's review what we know:

1. the reporter suggested the question to the soldier.
2. the soldier agreed to ask it.

the story here isn't that the soldiers are up-armoring vehicles. the story here is rumsfeld's response to being questioned about it. i think this is why we're having difficulty understanding one another here.

surely you don't think the soldiers weren't wondering just why representatives of the world's sole superpower are scrounging for parts while implementing the defining policy of their commander-in-chief? i mean, i suppose it's possible they didn't, but frankly, that stretches my suspension of disbelief uncomfortably far.

IOW, i do not view this as "staging" the meeting secretary rumsfeld held.

ed

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ATW
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"there are plenty of reasons for me not to like him that do not rely upon demonizing him. :>"

I'll that admission as a significant breakthrough and retire from the field of battle. [Wink]

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ed
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now now, ATW: in the discussions we've had here and elsewhere, did i ever really leave you with the sense that my dislike for various government officials, elected or otherwise, was dependent upon demonizing them?

ed

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Daruma28
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WSJ's Brendan Miniter gives some good insight into the problems of armored vehicles in Iraq today....

quote:
Hunter's Gun Truck
One reason for the Iraq armor shortage: The military is too thorough.

BY BRENDAN MINITER
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

A few weeks ago Rep. Duncan Hunter handed me a reason that has largely escaped media attention on why our troops in Iraq don't have all the armor protection they need. It was a piece of ballistic glass, roughly the size of a small dinner plate. But as it was four sheets of glass glued together, it was also very thick and extremely heavy. But I peered through it, and it was as transparent as a normal windshield. In Iraq, this glass is saving lives because it can stop bullets and shrapnel from roadside bombs.

The problem, the House Armed Services Committee chairman explained, is that a ballistic windshield is too heavy for some of the military's vehicles. The window frames simply cannot support it without being reinforced. In many instances that means the soldiers are driving vehicles with regular windshields as the bureaucracy works out the logistics of sending over vehicles that can handle ballistic windshields or finds a way to retrofit the vehicles now in theater. It's this waiting that has unnerved Mr. Hunter.

While the troops wait, he complained, the military could install two-inch-thick ballistic glass--half as thick as is optimal. Nearly every vehicle could support the weight of this slimmed-down ballistic glass, and it would likely stop 80% of the shrapnel that penetrates ordinary windshields. But the military is loath to adopt an interim, if imperfect, remedy. It prefers to wait for the "100% solution," Mr. Hunter said. In other words, in military procurement, the perfect has become the enemy of the good.

In addition to ballistic glass, Mr. Hunter has been pushing the military to armor their vehicles. At the very least, he says, soldiers should be given steel plates they can cut for makeshift doors for their humvees. He even made a short video demonstrating how to do it. All soldiers would need is the steel, a couple of piano hinges, a few bolts and an acetylene torch. He was able to bolt on two doors in just two hours. (You can watch the video here.) Yet somehow the military isn't getting this done either.

This is not the only problem that has somehow escaped media scrutiny, even in the wake of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld being put on the spot last week. Insurgent attacks come across on the nightly news as random acts of violence. But in Iraq, the enemy is relatively sophisticated in his target selection. The insurgents have not been very successful openly attacking well-armored vehicles. After all, American soldiers shoot back. So insurgents have turned to going after convoys. Convoy trucks are not as well armored as they need to be, the drivers are alone in their cabs and therefore are unable to fight back, and, depending on what is being hauled, setting a truck alight can result in a massive explosion that is sure to attract media attention.

Cutting supply lines is a classic guerrilla tactic, but what's happening in Iraq is the insurgents have figured out where the soft underbelly is for a military still built to fight other large armies with relatively fixed battle lines. The military is bolting armor onto convoy trucks that pick up supplies in Kuwait and haul them into Iraq. But some of the trucks that carry supplies from nearby depots inside Iraq to frontline troops aren't being armored up because they don't make it to the armor supply centers in Kuwait.

One way to deter attacks on convoy trucks is to send along armored escorts. But there aren't enough armored vehicles to go around, so some soldiers earlier this year started using plywood, sandbags and any scrap metal they can find to armor up their trucks--"hillbilly armor." Mr. Hunter's office came up with an interim solution for this, too. By bolting a few plates of high-grade steel, ballistic glass and four machine guns onto a truck, his staff was able to convert a regular truck into an escort vehicle that can take on attacking insurgents. The Army initially resisted these gun trucks, saying they weren't needed. But now a handful of them are in Iraq, with more to be delivered Christmas Eve.

There has also been a few notable successes in forcing the military procurement system to function properly. Before redeploying for Iraq last March, the Marines pulled out all the stops--including a few visits to steel mills--to put at least some armor on all the vehicles they shipped over there. Through the Rapid Fielding Initiative, the Pentagon distributed a new type of body armor that first saw combat in Afghanistan to nearly every soldier in Iraq. For outstanding needs, Rapid Acquisition Authority was signed into law in October. This empowers the secretary of defense to spend up to $100 million a year to go outside of the normal procurement system to meet urgent battlefield needs. So far no battlefield commander has requested this power to be invoked.

Mr. Rumsfeld stirred up a hornet's nest last week by saying, "You go to war with the army you have. They're not the army you might want or wish to have." He's right. We cannot afford to make the mistake George McClellan did in the Civil War, endlessly preparing for war but not doggedly going after the enemy. Our soldiers deserve the best equipment and training money can buy. And that includes the best equipment they can use now, instead of waiting around for something better. Sometimes what's good enough today is better than what would be perfect sometime down the road.


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RickyB
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Ah yes, blame the military... Where have I heard that last?

Last time I checked, the SecDef had authority over the military, especially in matters such as procurement and equipment. Just as he forced them to go to war with less szoldiers than they wanted, he can force them to equip the vehicles with what he thinks is right. Also, last time I checked the words Commander in Chief actually meant something.

Enough alread with the false McClellan analogy. McClellan procrastinated in the middle of a war that was already on, and that was forced on his side. Rumsfeld rushed to war "with the army he had" against a completely cornered enemy who did not force his hand in any way.

30 years from now, when every semi-conscious, half literate baboon will know that this war was run in the worst way, some of you will still be defending it.

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Daruma28
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quote:
30 years from now, when every semi-conscious, half literate baboon will know that this war was run in the worst way, some of you will still be defending it.
Funny, but you could make the same argument for any war in our history. At this point in time, we have the lowest casualty count of any war we've ever engaged in throughout our history, yet many of you still claim that "this war was run in the worst way."

Mistakes were made. No one is saying Rumsefeld and co. have been perfect. Than again, there has never been such thing as a perfect war, and mistakes are inevitable.

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RickyB
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Casualty counts are not the only way to count. Besides, when are we gonna start counting our brave Iraqi allies as part of the cost here?

As for perfect - Nobody is demanding perfection. This is way beyond "to err is human". He insisted on going in too light, and was proved wrong. Insisted on disbanding the Iraqi army (which is like compounding that original risk several times over), and was proven wrong. Was slow to take action on Abu Ghraib, and was proven wrong. Took a very "liberal" view of war crimes, and cost us dearly in prestige and influence. And even now he won't move to correct any of those mistakes. It ain't like he's saying "OK, I was wrong about the troop count needed. I'm sending another 100K". No, he's sticking by his mistakes

So e-freaking-nough with the batting-eyelids of "mistakes were made". To err is human. To stick by your errors is also human, but in a bad way.

You know, you got me pegged for a diehard Bush-hater who will never give the man and his administration credit. On April 9th, 2003, I was strongly moved when I saw the statue come down. I was preparing my mea culpa columns in my head. Then I watched in utter disbelief as it became evident that NO preparation was made for morning after. I simply could not believe, despite all my dislike of these people, that they were being so careless and incompetent. And by and large, it's only gotten worse since.

mistakes are excusable. Refusing to learn from them or rectify them is not.

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WarrsawPact
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Ricky -

Even counting our Iraqi allies, this is extraordinarily low as far as casualties go -- especially since we are largely fighting in the notoriously deadly urban setting against guerrilla tactics. The casualty counts for the South Vietnamese were staggering by comparison.

We're better at training allies than ever before, largely throguh practice training conuterinsurgency forces worldwide. We're currently doing this everywhere from South America to Africa to SouthEast Asia to the Caucuses and Eastern Europe.
We're also the first hierarchical army in modern times to so successfully lower urban casualty rates (both wounded and dead). In fact, it's telling that our wounded outnumber our dead by so much -- we're sending our soldiers in better-equipped and with better medical support than ever before in such a setting.

Some of Rumsfeld's policies have been foolish and he shouldn't stick by all of them. But far more were very well thought-out and thorough, and the military is showing surprising resilience in the face of so many challenges.
I too would like to see mnore boots on the ground, but recruiting goals are not being met in several areas. A lot of this has to do with how our fight is being protrayed.

Can you convince soemone to sign up for the military when the war is portrayed as:
* a losing battle against growing insurgent forces?
* morally wrong?
* unduly hazardous for troops?
* not receiving support from the government and from fellow citizens?

The truth is quite different from the perception. The success stories are not told, and neither are the stories of whatever heroes there are. I've personally heard only two names of our fighters portrayed positively since Saddam was found, and those are Pat Tillman and the name of Chuck Yaeger's relative (his grandson, I think?).

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Daruma28
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No Ricky....just some perspective is necessary. Whether you mean to or not, you definitely have fallen into the glass is half empty crowd in estimating all of the consequences of the war. No doubt SOME of your pessimism/cynicism comes from your distaste for this administration.

There have been screwups. I'll even agree with some of the points you make - like disbanding the Iraqi army immediately. However, on a whole, when you weigh everything so far, we have accomplished a lot in the past three years...yet the half of this country that is steadfastly opposed to Bush continually downplays all progress while saturating us with the negative cynicism and a continual stream of dire predictions and doomsaying.

As Victor Davis Hanson wrote:

"At its richest, most populous stage in its history, the United States, after reeling from a devastating blow to its financial and military nerve centers, in less than three years toppled the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, implemented elections in Afghanistan and scheduled them in Iraq, prevented another 9/11-like attack — and so far has tragically lost about 1,100 in combat in a war against a virulent fascism that is antithetical to every aspect of Western liberty. Our grandfathers would have considered all this a miraculous military achievement. We call it a quagmire, deride our leaders as liars and traitors, and often doubted that our Marines — the greatest street-fighting besiegers in the history of warfare, who stormed Manila, Seoul, Hue, and Panama City — could take Fallujah last April."

That perfectly encapsulates how you anti-war/Bush folks look from here. You guys seem to carp on and on about any and every mistake as *proof* that this war was wrong to begin with.

Let's have some hisorical perspective please.

"...six weeks after the Normandy beach landings, Americans were dying in droves in France. We think of the 76-day Normandy campaign of summer and autumn 1944 as an astounding American success — and indeed it was, as Anglo-American forces cleared much of France of its Nazi occupiers in less than three months. But the outcome was not at all preordained, and more often was the stuff of great tragedy. Blunders were daily occurrences — resulting in 2,500 Allied casualties a day. In any average three-day period, more were killed, wounded, or missing than there have been in over a year in Iraq."

[ December 14, 2004, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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RickyB
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Afghanistan is a good and just war. However, scheduling elections is not like having them. There were 10 times more election workers in Afghanistan 2 months before the elections than there are in Iraq.

As for doubting the ability to take Fallujah -I have no idea who this Hanson guy is talking about. No one with the slightest idea doubted that for a split second, and if some moron did write it, well, that only proves Cicero was right.

Miraculous achievement? You refuse to get it: the military victory part was never the point. Equating the military victory over Saddam's starved and outdated army with the one over the mighty nazi army is so stupid and or dishonest that I hereby refuse to address it again coming from any current member of Ornery. It's like an NHL team beating a bunch of bored amateurs and equating it with the miracle on ice.

The point was the rebuilding and shaping a better Iraq part. We're doing that badly and we're refusing to learn from mistakes.

As for wrong to begin with - read what I wrote again, about my feelings on April 9th. I do believ it was wrong to begin with, yet was willing to accept that it was good after all and still am, but so far it ain't looking good.

WP - perhaps if bogus "success stories" like the "rescue" of Jessical Lynch weren't hyped and shoved down our throats, the media wouldn't be treating any real ones like "wolf wolf".

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
At this point in time, we have the lowest casualty count of any war we've ever engaged in throughout our history, yet many of you still claim that "this war was run in the worst way."


Uh, what are you basing this on? Does this mean that and Bosnia wasn't a "real" war? It certainly was far more successful in terms of both achieving objectives and keeping casualties low. The first five years of Vietnam saw less than 2000 casualties, Iraq will break that in two years. And since everyone loves to point out how few casualties Iraq has caused compared to WWII, lets remember how many combat fatalities there war during the postwar occupation: none. And its not just germany:

quote:
. According to America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, a new study by former Ambassador James Dobbins, who had a lead role in the Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo reconstruction efforts, and a team of RAND Corporation researchers, the total number of post-conflict American combat casualties in Germany—and Japan, Haiti, and the two Balkan cases—was zero.

(from http://slate.msn.com/id/2087768/#ContinueArticle)

And you really can't see anything in Iraq to complain about?
Adam

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RickyB
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"Some of Rumsfeld's policies have been foolish and he shouldn't stick by all of them. But far more were very well thought-out and thorough"

Which ones? He was right about needing relatively few troops to ***conquer***, while utterly ignoring the needs of controlling, pacifying and rebuilding, betting everything on a rosy scneario and refusing to even make contingency plans for less fortunate outcomes. What else?

Speaking of conquest, I read in Reuters today that Iraq's highways are so unsafe, we're having to airlift supplies and equipment inside the country rather than truck them.

Adam - good man, good post. [Smile]

[ December 14, 2004, 08:31 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Daruma28
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Bosnia was about as close to a real war as the bombing of Libya by Reagan.

As for you Slate piece you linked to......

I gather they or you have never heard of the "Nazi Werewolves?"

This sounds pretty familiar here:

quote:
The Werewolves specialised in ambushes and sniping, and took the lives of many Allied and Soviet soldiers and officers -- perhaps even that of the first Soviet commandant of Berlin, General N.E. Berzarin, who was rumoured to have been waylaid in Charlottenburg during an incident in June 1945. Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying powers.

Although the Werewolves originally limited themselves to guerrilla warfare with the invading armies, they soon began to undertake scorched-earth measures and vigilante actions against German `collaborators' or `defeatists'. They damaged Germany's economic infrastructure, already battered by Allied bombing and ground fighting, and tried to prevent anything of value from falling into enemy hands. Attempts to blow up factories, power plants or waterworks occasionally provoked melees between Werewolves and desperate German workers trying to save the physical basis of their employment, particularly in the Ruhr and Upper Silesia.

From History Today: Minutemen of the Third Reich - history of the Nazi Werewolf guerilla movement


"And you really can't see anything in Iraq to complain about?"

I never said that.

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RickyB
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The werewolves impact was miniscule compared to the Iraqi insurgency. Google "Condi Rice is wrong about germany's werewolves but right about Iraq" (or just the first four words) and you'll see that even Iraq-optimists concede this, so don't even bother.

As for what you said about Bosnia - that's pretty ignorant of you. Milosevic's army was in much better shape, did not dissolve at first attack, and his terrain was far more difficult.

21 months after the fall of Berlin, pretty much every nazi leader who was caught had already stood trial. The first Iraqi war crime trials will only begin next week. Why? Why have we not caused jkustice to be seen yet? This is just a relatively minor gripe, but it illustrates how the leaders of this war just don't get it.

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Daruma28
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Well, after reading some more on the topic, I see that there is basically a huge discrepancy between the idea of post WWII occupation casualties, as well as conflicting views of the relevancy of the occupation of Germany versus the current occupation of Iraq.

Fine. No need to go off on another tangent.

I found this comparison between the two pretty interesting, and it does highlight the differences. From an Amazon book review of the book cited in the article I posted above:

quote:
First, General Eisenhower and his staff devoted considerable effort during the war to developing a post-war occupation strategy, not all of it consistent with international law. (pp. 252-254) Second, the occupation of Germany was a direct result of German military aggression and followed a formal surrender by German authorities. Germans knew that Germany had started the war. Third, the successful occupation of Germany occurred after it was entirely surrounded by hostile forces. There were no open borders with countries opposing the Allied occupation, unlike Iraq, which borders Iran and Syria. Fourth, the Nazi Party?s extermination of the Jews left only Protestants and Catholics, two Christian sects that hadn?t been at war in Germany for over 200 years. The ethnic (Kurds and Iraqis) and religious (Sunni and Shiite) tensions in Iraq continued to erupt throughout the twentieth century. Finally, the partisan resistance to Allied occupation quickly faded at the end of the war. Continued Iraqi resistance quite likely points, in part, to simmering ethnic and religious tensions.

These historical differences show the magnitude of the problems facing the current U.S. military occupation of Iraq.

If nation building by military force is now an accepted tenet of U.S. foreign policy, this book should provide valuable historical background for the U.S. officer corps and the enlisted personnel called upon to implement that policy. It would also be useful for citizens who wish to understand better some of on-the-ground issues that would be faced by their military occupation forces.


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David Ricardo
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quote:
“[I]t is said that one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes be victorious, sometimes meet with defeat. One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated in every engagement.”
-- Sun Tzu

Rumsfeld completely failed to understand the nature of our enemy in Iraq, and the lack of understanding is the main reason for the failure of the occupation so far. Even when the State Department and CIA offered Rumsfeld a comprehensive analysis of the nature of our enemy before the invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld discarded it pompously as part of his bureaucratic disdain for the State Department and CIA.

quote:
“He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue... In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."
-- Sun Tzu

Rumsfeld forgot to count the cost for the occupation appropriately, so he has now left us in Iraq with too few troops, too little ammunition, too little armor, and too little support. And instead of stomping out the insurgency quickly and efficient in the first stage of the occupation, Rumsfeld allowed the insurgency to fester. Now we face an unnecessarily long-term insurgency campaign that is far too lengthy and draining that it should have been.

quote:
"It may be of interest to future generals to realize that one makes plans to fit the circumstances, and does not try to create circumstances to fit plans."
-- Patton

Rumsfeld discarded any intelligence that disagreed with the Wolfowitz premise that it would only take 50,000 U.S. troops to conquer and occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld had his ideal vision of a faster, leaner, technologically-reliant military, and he wanted to prove it right in Iraq. Meanwhile, he dismissed any intelligence that contradicted his pet ideology about the Revolution in Military Affairs.

quote:
"[T]he concept of war does not originate with the attack, because the ultimate object of attack is not fighting: rather, it is possession.”
-- Karl von Clausewitz

War is just a continuation of pollicy by other means. The invasion of Iraq was just a minor part of the total objective. The actual occupation of Iraq was the real prize (why invade Iraq if not to occupy it?), yet Rumsfeld set aside little or no planning for why to occupy Iraq properly after the invasion.
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ed
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update: the unit of the guy who asked the question received their armor the next day. i guess i should retract that statement about the glacial speed of the pentagon's bureaucracy?

ed

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RickyB
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Wow, what a coincidence. What about other units?
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RickyB
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Another thing occurs to me:
Bush always says that we're fighting this war in order to fight "them" (i.e. terrorists) over there, so we won't have to meet them over here. Right? Well, if that's so, then there is absolutely NO excuse for not anticipating a jihad against us in Iraq. After all - that was the object, wasn't it?

So which is it?

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ATW
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"Rummy gets hammered"

Thinking about a rummy getting hammered...the secretary of defense being asked a question wasn't the first thought that sprung to mind.

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ed
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ATW, i think that in light of recent events, we both owe the pentagon's bureaucracy an apology? :>

ed

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ATW
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Nah, they'll just screw up something else to make up for it. Give 'em time. [Wink]
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ed
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[chuckles]
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