This is the kind of political analysis a six figure salary and a soapbox at the world’s newspaper gets us. Ross Douthat writes,
In its month-long crab walk toward a military confrontation with Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Obama administration has delivered a clinic in the liberal way of war.
Just a week ago, as the tide began to turn against the anti-Qaddafi rebellion, President Obama seemed determined to keep the United States out of Libya’s civil strife. But it turns out the president was willing to commit America to intervention all along. He just wanted to make sure we were doing it in the most multilateral, least cowboyish fashion imaginable….
This is an intervention straight from Bill Clinton’s 1990s playbook, in other words, and a stark departure from the Bush administration’s more unilateralist methods. There are no “coalitions of the willing” here, no dismissive references to “Old Europe,” no “you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Instead, the Obama White House has shown exquisite deference to the very international institutions and foreign governments that the Bush administration either steamrolled or ignored.
…there are major problems with this approach to war…. Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building within the (so-called) international community, they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence…. (emphasis mine)
Ross looks back at Bush and sees rainbows and looks back at Iraq and sees a campaign commercial of little Iraqi children with ribbons in their hair playing in the shade of an old oak tree. In other words the Kon-Kool-Aid runs thick with delusion enhancing sweeteners. Generals Opposing Iraq War Break with Military Tradition
But they felt betrayed by Bush and his advisers.
“The ethos is: Give your advice to those in a position to make changes, not the media,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, now retired. “But this administration is immune to good advice.”
Eaton has two sons serving in Afghanistan and Iraq; his father, an Air Force pilot, was shot down and killed over Laos in 1969. He said his frustration began festering in 2003, when he was assigned to build the Iraqi army from scratch. His internal requests for more equipment and properly trained instructors went unheeded, he said.
And some highlights from one of several reports and studies done on the preparation for invading Iraq and the post-invasion management – Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience
– The debate over the United States’ role in Iraq after the war split the Bush administration, with the Pentagon foreseeing a quick pull-out and the State Department warning of a long occupation. Across the government, there were worries that the plans for rebuilding Iraq were being rushed.
– Once in Kuwait, United States officials found themselves ill prepared for the invasion hatching plans in parking lots and relying on outdated books to lay out their course of action. Pentagon and State Department bickering continued, the review said.
– Some of the most important decisions after the invasion of Iraq were made on the fly, by a handful of people acting alone or without the full knowledge of government leaders, the review said. Perhaps most notably, the decision to carry out a long-term rather than a short-term occupation was made during a private conversation between President Bush and Ambassador L. Paul Bremer on May 6. Mr. Bremer said he took President Bush’s words as “effectively, though perhaps not formally” changing the Pentagon’s plans for post war Iraq, according to Mr. Bremer’s remarks to the Special Inspector General. In his book, My Year in Iraq, Mr. Bremer noted that he entered the meeting with the president determined to put an end to the “reckless fantasy” of administration officials who were advocating a quick exit.
– At least 62 different government agencies were involved in the rebuilding process. No single agency ever exerted complete control.
– In 2004 and 2005, the United States tried to create yet more temporary offices to solve the rebuilding problems. The Iraq Reconstruction Management Office was one. Others were so-called Provincial Reconstruction Teams. The teams were supposed to work in regional offices staffed by different American agencies. Instead, the Pentagon and State feuded over security and staffing issues.
Neither Bush or Cheney had any real training in modern military tactics or strategy( no Bush’s few months protecting Texas airspace from the Vietcong do not count). That did not stop them from micromanaging the war according to the demands of their political agenda, Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop
A flip-flop by George W. Bush worsened the military-political debacle in Fallujah last April when the Bush administration overruled the Marine commanding general twice, first ordering him to undertake a retaliatory assault against the rebellious Iraqi city and then abruptly reversing direction three days later.
There are those on the far Right and on the moderate side who have their criticisms of President Obama’s decision to join a coalition of NATO allies to enforce a no-fly zone. As one would expect the most bizarre criticisms are coming from the same peanut gallery that kept their lips glued to Bloody Flip-Flop Bush’s ass for eight years.
I’m not fond of the practice of idolatry, but different beliefs for different folks I guess. For Powerline’s Assrocket, one of his many objects of worship is Sarah Palin. Assrocket has yet another nauseating graveling salute to one of the most ethically challenged people in politics today. All the while not holding public office is quite the achievement, Sarah Palin In Jerusalem
Liberals love to insult Sarah Palin’s intelligence. It’s not a subject on which I have any particular opinion, except to note that, apparently by a remarkable coincidence, her judgment is correct on just about every subject. For instance, Israel. Today she and her husband Todd were in Jerusalem.
Palin seems to operate in some delusional ether that does not require drugs. Under the effects of same she has managed to have opinions which vacillate between the weird, the wrong and some stuff future cultural anthropologists will be trying to figure out. Like many conservatives she is right on occasion. This is easily accounted for by the Law of Acorns. If a squirrel digs enough holes it will eventually find one. Liberals are not wrong to highly esteem facts and rationalism, but I would I agree they are mistaken to over-estimate its value as a political asset. Republicans presidents decreased in intelligence from Nixon to Reagan to Bush 43 ( Bush 41 was something of an anomaly). So obviously intelligence in not a requirement for being president. John seems to be hoping the pattern holds and America, with conservatives pushing, continues to dump down both discourse and substance.
As Ross Douthat was playing with his revisionist fiddle in public, so was Alan Greenspan, saint of the Unholy Church of Conservonomics, Paul Krugman Is too Tired to Comment on Alan Greenspan…
Rantings of an Ex-Maestro: Some people have asked me for reactions to this piece by Alan Greenspan (pdf) on how Obama’s activism is preventing economic recovery. I could go through the weak reasoning, the shoddy econometrics that ignores a large literature on business investment and ignores simultaneity problems, etc., etc.. But never mind; just consider the tone. Greenspan writes in characteristic form: other people may have their models, but he’s the wise oracle…. Sorry, but he doesn’t get to do that any more. 2011 is not 2006. Greenspan is an ex-Maestro… who saw no evil, heard no evil, refused to do anything about subprime, insisted that derivatives made the financial system more stable, denied not only that there was a national housing bubble but that such a bubble was even possible.
If he wants to redeem himself through hard and serious reflection about how he got it so wrong, fine — and I’d be interested in listening. If he thinks he can still lecture us from his pedestal of wisdom, he’s wasting our time.
American corporations are sitting almost $2 trillion dollars in assets and profits are the highest they’ve been in years. If the right-wing meme is American business is suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder thus are not hiring. Tell it to the elves with the bells on their shoes.
A much better and more sensible explanation for the relatively high value that the stock market places on existing illiquid corporate assets and the relatively low value that companies place on illiquid investments to expand their fixed capital is precisely that capacity utilization is low–so why spend more money now building factories when doing so would be more expensive and only add to your idle capacity?
As the Right, and right-wing Randians will be happy to tell you, if you’ve been living in a cave, is that corporate America has no moral obligations, only the obligation to rake in the cash. If they can rake in cash without hiring or expanding they will. They are. So Alan can go all revisionist on the economy while Douthat rewrites the history of one of the most incompetent administrations in history. Maybe they can call Glenn Reynolds and make it official circle jerk day. MotherJones has a good write up and chart on the same subject, Defending the Ridiculous