December 05, 2006

Moderately Uninformed

Writing at the Moderate Voice, Shaun Mullen gets quite a few things—almost everything—wrong, in just four short paragraphs:

Robert Gates got it wrong right out of the, er . . . gate on Tuesday in the opening session of his nomination hearing to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense.

Gates declared that Iraq is "one of the central battlefronts" in the war on terrorism, but failed to note why. His omission compounded the biggest of President Bush's Big Lies: The U.S. didn't go to war in Iraq because it was awash with terrorists. It is awash with terrorists because Rumsfeld's horribly botched occupation opened the door to Al Qaeda and others.

Gates did get a couple of big things right: The U.S. is losing the war and the resulting mess may trigger a regional war.

His candor is a refreshing change, but I fear that Robert Gates is too little too late.

First, Gates never claimed that we were losing in Iraq. As a matter of fact he expressly said we weren't losing (nor winning, implying a stalemate). I invite Mr. Mullen to go back and re-read what actually happened, instead of printing what he apparently wanted to hear.

I'd also point out that prior to the 2003 invasion, several terror groups called Iraq home, that Saddam paid bounties to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and that Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, and Abdul Rahman Yasin, the 1993 WTC bomb builder, all lived in Iraq with Saddam's knowledge and perhaps his blessing. In addition, Iraq's intelligence services were complicit in planning, financing, training, and executing terror attacks internally and regionally. Iraq had quite a stable of terrorists and terrorist-enablers prior to the invasion, and I frankly resent Mr. Mullen's patently dishonest mischaracterization that Iraq wasn't waist-deep in terrorism.

As the Man said, the stated objective of the invasion was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."

Mullen might not like those facts, but he isn't allowed to make up his own history in response.

I will agree that the post-war occupation (the war itself lasted weeks and was a decisive U.S. victory) has been botched horribly, but it wasn't all Rummy and Bush; State and other government agencies have proven to be every bit as much incompetent as the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, even if they aren't as visible.

Mullen also seems to imply that everything going wrong in Iraq happens only as a result of U.S. actions and/or inactions, a patently dishonest rhetorical position that flies directly in the face of reality.

His position—rancid "blame America first" pabulum echoed by far too many "serious" people who should know better—ignores the fact that other regional actors such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc all have the capability to influence the situation within Iraq for good, or ill.

Sadly, most Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others that could have a positive influence have adopted a mostly "hands off" policy, which had the Iraqi foreign minister today blaming them for not doing more. The two nations that have been making a concerted effort to affect conditions in Iraq have both been negative, with Syria supporting the Baathist insurgency and Iran supporting Shiite militias. It also ignores the free will of Iraqis, some of which (particularly some of the Sunni tribes in al Anbar) is self-defeating.

Mullen’s next-to-parting shot is ignorant along those same lines, another failure of shortsightedness.

He states a U.S failure could trigger a larger regional war. I've got a news flash for him and you as well; the war between western and Islamist philosophies—the larger regional war, or if left unfinished soon, a probable world war—has been building in its latest incarnation for nearly 30 years. It is merely the latest iteration in a war over a thousand years old, and renewed conflict is a certainty. It will occur, regardless of the proximate trigger.

If we are very very lucky we will fight this as a regional war instead of a world war, and sooner rather than later. We should fight it before bare democracies in Iraq and Lebanon fall to the influence of Shia Islamists, and preferably before Iran completes and uses nuclear weapons on Israel, wiping out the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the process, prompting a dying Israel to launch a nuclear counterstrike that will kill tens of millions of Iranians.

Robert Gates has a terminal weakness common to many realists, the inability to realize that the "other" does not think like us, or even necessarily opposite of the way we think. The term for this sort of failure is called mirroring, an it was such disastrous thinking that convinced the Japanese 65 years ago that a strike on the U.S Naval base at Pearl Harbor would knock us out of the war.

The Japanese did not understand the psychology of America then, just as Gates, Baker, and other realists make the mistake of misunderstanding how the apocalyptic Hojjatieh sect thinks now. The Hojjatieh sect ruling Iran is a branch of Shia Islam so extreme that Ayatollah Khomeini outlawed it in 1983. These are not rational Cold War Russians, but zealots hoping to expedite the return of their Messiah, and they are sure that they have the Allah-given mandate to bring the Madhi back to earth through nuclear fire.

We will fight this war. The only question is how high the butcher's bill will be, which is in part determined by howe much longer we procrastinate.

Mullen fundamentally misunderstands what the nomination of Robert Gates represents. He isn't "too little, too late." The realist school of foreign policy to which Gates subscribes created the problem with which we are now confronted.

Robert Gates may be a fine man and great public servant, but unless this leopard has changed his spots considerably, he is precisely the wrong man for the job.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 5, 2006 03:49 PM | TrackBack

If Iran had even low cunning (I have no idea if they do), then they would not launch against Israel until they also had bombs for several European and American cities also. Then they would destroy NY, LA, Chicago, London, Paris, Munich, Copenhagen (gotta hate those cartoon-mongers!), Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, etc.

So when Israel launches a retaliatory strike that wipes them out, they've already destroyed the Great Satan and the other infidels.

I assume that with sufficient raw material and hundreds of centrifuges spinning, this is just a matter of time.

We can hope that somehow they don't mean it, or somehow they'll fail. But hope is not a plan.

Or we can strike now, while the war can still be fought on their soil, with the death toll contained primarily to the enemy.

Posted by: Bearster at December 5, 2006 05:37 PM

His position—rancid "blame America first" pabulum echoed by far too many "serious" people who should know better

We don't blame America.

Posted by: Sam S at December 5, 2006 10:10 PM

If Iran had even low cunning (I have no idea if they do), then they would not launch against Israel until they also had bombs for several European and American cities also. Then they would destroy NY, LA, Chicago, London, Paris, Munich, Copenhagen (gotta hate those cartoon-mongers!), Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, etc.

How's that crack-smoking thing working out for you? You do realize that you're just throwing out fear-mongering pipe dreams that will never come to pass in the real world, right?

Posted by: Arbotreeist at December 5, 2006 10:57 PM

Facts are an unknown to the left winger's and no one can break through they're stupidity.

Saddam himself was the leader of a terrorists organization, one that was worse than anything we've ever seen (other than the left wing hero, Hitler). A look at this site should, but won't wake the left up. They will be living in their fantasy world until they die, which may not be too long off.

Posted by: Scrapiron at December 5, 2006 11:15 PM

and no one can break through they're stupidity.


Posted by: Arbotreeist at December 6, 2006 12:10 AM

We don't blame America.

Who are you going to blame when Bush is out of office though? Then it'll be back to blaming America.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at December 6, 2006 02:43 AM


Damn net noobs. Don't understand a thing about netiquite and what criticism of spelling in an immediate medium implies.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at December 6, 2006 02:45 AM

The fact is, there are terrorist cells out there, people that just want to do harm to others for various reasons. My question to the liberals is, if the Democrats pull us out of Iraq in early 07, where is the next battlefield going to be and who will be holding all the cards?

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 6, 2006 06:25 AM

LOL....and you expect an answer from the left RN? You know better than that. Lot's of rhetoric; empty words and promises (Don't worry Mary Jo, I'll come back for you...), but no action. They still don't have a plan for Iraq - they want Bush to decide....Fine with me.

Posted by: Specter at December 6, 2006 07:46 AM

Thinking that the world would be safer with Sadaam Hussein running Iraq is a perfectly valid position.

If you suffer from severe dementia

Posted by: TMF at December 6, 2006 07:55 AM

Posted by Specter at December 6, 2006 07:46 AM

I know I probably won't get one, but it's actually a semi-serious question. There will be more battle grounds, maybe not the month we pull out, or even within six months but I believe there will be sooner or later. We pull stakes and have to look at our own ground, the cards in our deck are at the low end.

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 6, 2006 08:10 AM


Xerox is sponsoring a site named Let's Say Thanks. You can go there and have a card sent to someone in the armed services for free. You don't get to pick who gets the card, but it goes to someone on active duty.

The link is:

We can all get behind this. Pass it on.

Posted by: Specter at December 6, 2006 11:17 AM

Sorry - Live link is Let's Say Thanks

Posted by: Specter at December 6, 2006 11:21 AM

Yeah, things are going GREAT in Iraq. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS. KEEP MOVING......

Gates, kissinger, Richard Perle, James Baker all say we can't win there-- all those damn leftists, eh?

Posted by: D-Run at December 6, 2006 02:39 PM

Scrapiron, on top of being grammatically-challenged, is an idiot.

When you write "the left wing hero, Hitler," you show your ignorance. Hitler was a Fascist; Fascsm is the farthst right one can goon the political specrum; ergo, Hitler was a right-winger. Know your history.

Posted by: chaz at December 6, 2006 02:43 PM

From TammyBruce's website comes the following quote:

"In my new book, "The New American Revolution," I explain how fascism can only spring from the Left; it is a framework that starts as an argument to elevate the oppressed, yet its true goal is to indoctrinate first its followers, and then everyone else, into accepting punishment of those who do not conform to the leftist worldview. This control and destruction of dissent is the foundation of fascism. It must be so, as the only way the Left survives is if it is able to condemn and silence its critics."

Posted by: cfbleachers at December 6, 2006 02:59 PM

Posted by D-Run at December 6, 2006 02:39 PM

that didn't answer my question, it's not rhetorical. Do you see terrorism out in the world, if we stop fighting them in Iraq, where will the attack next? If they attack our soil again, who holds all the cards?

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 6, 2006 03:13 PM