The memory throws up high and dry A crowd of twisted things

Rumsfeld’s Memo of Options for Iraq War
Some highlights,

Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).

Which the administration said would do or or has done, though real metrics were often distorted. This one is simply “stay the course”.

Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007.

This is not stay the course, If there is something like what Democrats have proposed and yet because the might “D” has none of the mojo powers of the mighty “R” right-wing pundits and Bush ( at least publicly) been rejecting any such draw down.

Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, “If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it.” No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.

Rummy must have been hankered down in the den wearing his bunny slippers when he wrote this part. Probably remembering what his dad used to tell him, Juan Cole writes, The NYT has gotten hold of a memo by Donald Rumsfeld detailing options on Iraq.

Rumsfeld doesn’t understand the magnitude of the crisis or the tightrope the US is walking in the Gulf. His attitude is almost lackadaisical. Doing an all right job, but it isn’t working fast enough or well enough. So maybe make some changes– apparently any old changes will do because there are infinite lives to play with and infinite monies to spend.

This is one small sentence, but speaks volumes on how the administration and many media outlets have tried to paint a picture of victory,

Below the Line (less attractive options):

Continue on the current path.

Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it.

We’ve been in Iraq longer then it took to win WWII and Rummy thinks that getting Baghdad under control is one of the less attractive options. There is a temptation to think that the memo has found its way into the hands of NYT because as Laura Rozen suggests Rummy wanted to shift focus/blame back to the Whitehouse where it belongs. That kind of speculation isn’t too far off base when one considers the other option; that Bush-Cheney are hands off managers that let Rumsfeld call all the shots. That is nearly impossible to imagine. We have stories like this, Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker

The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda’s rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military’s mission in Anbar province.

The Marines recently filed an updated version of that assessment that stood by its conclusions and stated that, as of mid-November, the problems in troubled Anbar province have not improved, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday. “The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality” remain the same, the official said.

The Marines’ August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far bleaker than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq’s Sunni minority as “embroiled in a daily fight for survival,” fearful of “pogroms” by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.

Later in the article one suggestion is a Sunni state in Anbar. Since we are not going to just get up and leave all at once this would be a reasonable and even noble goal. The Sunni are in the precarious state they are in because of Bush-Rummy’s planning or lack thereof. Creating a Sunni state might well make for less of a blood bath in the long run and lessen al-Qaeda’s influence.

He’s The Worst Ever

Bush has taken this disdain for law even further. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court’s unprecedented rebukes of Bush’s policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

One other president bears comparison to Bush: James K. Polk. Some historians admire him, in part because he made their job easier by keeping a detailed diary during his administration, which spanned the years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should be remembered primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on Mexico and seizing one-third of its territory for the United States.

Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois, condemned Polk for misleading Congress and the public about the cause of the war — an alleged Mexican incursion into the United States.

When evaluating Bush its important not just what he has done during his administration, but the consequences that the United States and the world will pay for years. Foner mentions the polices of President Andrew Johnson which we never really undid until the Civil Rights Act of the sixties. Comparisons themselves only serve so much purpose. Judged solely within the issues of our time Bush’s answer and until recently a conservative Congress’s answer was to set course on a criminally irresponsible fiscal house of horrors ( your taxes have actually gone up and we’re around seven trillion dollars in debt), then there is his colossal failure at national security, he is one of the biggest liars we’ve ever had as president, and he has fueled corruption that will likely never be punished the likes of which make Harding look like a light-weight. Bush’s attacks on the Constitution are unprecedented even considering Lincoln and FDR.

Rush Limbaugh learned all he needs to know about women from cats,

On the November 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh proclaimed: My “cat’s taught me more about women, than anything my whole life” because his pet cat “comes to me when she wants to be fed,” and “[s]he’s smart enough to know she can’t feed herself. She’s actually [a] very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn’t have to do anything for it.”

Conservatives keep confusing barnyard animals and pets with people, yet their heads remain in the sand when it comes to evolution.

The memory throws up high and dry
A crowd of twisted things;
A twisted branch upon the beach
Eaten smooth, and polished
As if the world gave up
The secret of its skeleton,
Stiff and white.
A broken spring in a factory yard,
Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left
Hard and curled and ready to snap.

from Rhapsody on a Windy Night by T. S. Eliot