November 12, 2006

Gates Nomination a Recipe for Disaster

Says the American Thinker (via Instapundit):

The Baker commission seems to be doing a lot more than just re-thinking Iraq. It appears to be copiously leaking a Vietnam-type cut-and-run plan that will leave the Gulf far more dangerous than it is now. The Vietnam model looks like a “face-saving” retreat by the United States—just like that one that left Vietnam a Stalinist prison state with tens of thousands of boat people fleeing and dying, and next door in Cambodia, two or three million dead at the hands of Pol Pot.

Baker’s press leaks seem designed to test public reaction to the cut-and-run plan.

President Bush's nominee to replace Don Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense is Robert Gates, a survivor of the Iran-Contra scandal who helped draft the Baker cut-and-run strategy.

Let's be very clear on who Robert Gates is; he is part of the problem, a leftover of the failed policies of realpolitik that helped create modern terrorism. His return to public service is a recipe for losing no just in Iraq, but in the larger War on Terror. He has as much business being Secretary of Defense as Harriet Miers had being on the Supreme Court.

Norman Podhoretz captured the failures of the Baker/Gates generation quite clearly as they led the run from terrorism in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations:

In April 1983, Hizbullah—an Islamic terrorist organization nourished by Iran and Syria—sent a suicide bomber to explode his truck in front of the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Sixty-three employees, among them the Middle East CIA director, were killed and another 120 wounded. But Reagan sat still.

Six months later, in October 1983, another Hizbullah suicide bomber blew up an American barracks in the Beirut airport, killing 241 U.S. Marines in their sleep and wounding another 81. This time Reagan signed off on plans for a retaliatory blow, but he then allowed his Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, to cancel it (because it might damage our relations with the Arab world, of which Weinberger was always tenderly solicitous). Shortly thereafter, the President pulled the Marines out of Lebanon.

Having cut and run in Lebanon in October, Reagan again remained passive in December, when the American embassy in Kuwait was bombed. Nor did he hit back when, hard upon the withdrawal of the American Marines from Beirut, the CIA station chief there, William Buckley, was kidnapped by Hizbullah and then murdered. Buckley was the fourth American to be kidnapped in Beirut, and many more suffered the same fate between 1982 and 1992 (though not all died or were killed in captivity).

These kidnappings were apparently what led Reagan, who had sworn that he would never negotiate with terrorists, to make an unacknowledged deal with Iran, involving the trading of arms for hostages. But whereas the Iranians were paid off handsomely in the coin of nearly 1,500 antitank missiles (some of them sent at our request through Israel), all we got in exchange were three American hostages—not to mention the disruptive and damaging Iran-contra scandal.

In September 1984, six months after the murder of Buckley, the U.S. embassy annex near Beirut was hit by yet another truck bomb (also traced to Hizbullah). Again Reagan sat still.

What realpolitik accomplished under Reagan was to build the confidence of terrorists. This same "do nothing" approach was continued under the first Bush Administration, thanks once again to political strategies favored both then and now by men like James Baker and Secretary-designate Robert Gates.

Robert Gates had a hand--never firmly proven, but never really in doubt--in the disasterous plan to attempt to negotiate with terrorism in Iran-Contra.

He also was part of the brainrust, err, braintrust, that urged Iraqi Shia to rebel again Saddam Hussein, only to stand by and watch when as many as 100,000 Shia were killed when they failed to support the rebellion they instigated in 1991.

Robert Gates has no business being the Secretary of Defense during a war on terrorism. He did far too much to help create the current problem to be relied upon to fix it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 12, 2006 02:44 PM | TrackBack

Hizbullah and Isreal are mad.

Ian Pundit thinks he's a Mossaid agent.

Posted by: Doh at November 12, 2006 03:15 PM

right on" gates is a scowcrftian baker-brzeshinski status quoitst, and he deserves to be voted DOWN.

rice isd a MAJOR disapopointment too. SHE SHE RESIGN.

i'd like to see Bolton at State, and Tommy Franks at Defense.

and I'd like us to elect a REAL consrevative and a real hawk in 2008, and notr another wimpy dove like George W Bush.

Posted by: reliapundit at November 12, 2006 03:26 PM

she SHOULD reisgn...

Posted by: reliapundit at November 12, 2006 03:28 PM

>>Norman Podhoretz captured the failures of the Baker/Gates generation quite clearly as they led the run from terrorism in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations."

Poddy usually requires a little translation from the original Likud patois, but his message is alway the same: kill the Arabs.

Posted by: skip at November 12, 2006 04:48 PM

This is no time to start pointing fingers.

Posted by: Charles Edward Frith at November 12, 2006 05:35 PM

As if Bush the Younger had advanced us against the terrorists. Is he going to tell us about the secret plan to end the war that was put out before the election?
Sadly, since we got our asses in this mess without a plan to get out, we may have to beat a hasty retreat like in Vietnam. The neo-cons who got us in have hit a wall in Iraq and aren't getting anywhere there. Does anybody have a plan that stands a chance in hell of working? By not setting a time table for withdrawl Bush is defacto staying the course to complete failure.

Posted by: jwberrie at November 12, 2006 05:45 PM

With the fumbling, bumbling press conference the day after the election and the firing of Rumsfeld, I am getting a vision of Helicopters on the roof of the Al Rashid Hotel. I fear the next two years will be nothing but one investigation after accusation and another investigation.

And the troops once again will take the brunt of the hit. It is a shame that a country like ours is not allowed to win a war...And Rumsfeld is going to be Indicted for War Crimes ? What kind of sickness has infected this country ? What in the hell are we suppose to do with these captured terrorists, give them a kiss and a pat on the ass and send them on their way. So they can attack some other American target ?

Posted by: MarkT at November 12, 2006 08:25 PM

I'll not Skip that you have to result to ad-hominem attacks and can't refute Pod.

Considering that Argentina finally charged Khamenei (you know, the "moderate") with killing 300 Argentinian Jews in the 94 bombings along with Hezbollah and the Iranian intelligence service, the Likud position that negotiating with Muslims is folly because as Ahmadinejad says, "we will kill Jews everywhere" has a lot of sense.

What do you propose to do in order to forestall Iranian nukes going off in US cities? [I figure you'd be just fine with Iran "finishing Hitler's job" as Ahmadinejad has almost bluntly put it] Hezbollah gives them deniability and they've used it to kill Americans in the past [Freeh charged Clinton, Sandy Burglar, and Albright with obstructing his Khobar Towers investigation because they were afraid of having to do something about Hezbollah/Iran]

How do you propose to deter Iran from nuking us if we run away from Iraq? How can we SHOW them the folly of attacking us when they've openly vowed to "blow up the White House?"

Posted by: Jim Rockford at November 12, 2006 08:41 PM

After all that was sacrificed and all the hope that was fostered, these establishment appeasment monkeys have a plan for national disgrace.

Sometimes I just want to shake their damned teeth loose. Would that help them listen to reason?

The next several weeks will foretell the election of '08; if enough disgust is shown because of the donks and enough anger is uncovered because of the trunks' ineptness, there is a chance for Constituitional leadership. If the donks get their hands around border security and make the all the moms feel safe and sound with socialized health care, it's another Dole For President (McCain) debacle and Hillary in '08.

With that we see the end. Law by judicial fiat, governmental power overstepping private rights, GNP decline, interest rate increases, etc.

Stop them before they hurt us some more.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Posted by: Dan Patterson at November 12, 2006 08:52 PM

My initial hit on Gates is the same as Pod and others: the ISG is a bad place to be in.

That said, I reviewed his part in a gabfest last year and his statements are at extreme odds with the ISG. If he does NOT explicitly say something along the lines: 'I appreciate the work of the ISG. Respectfully, I disagree.' then he will have problems coming across as his 'own man' and not a stand in for Baker and the Elder Bush.

I have trouble squaring the ISG position of Syria and Iran as *wanting a stabile Iraq* and this from Mr. Gates: "Robert Gates: I think an Iraqi government secure enough to invite us to leave we can count as a victory. My concern is that we have so little patience. We're so accustomed to watching television and we get irritated if it's a two-part series."

And then later:"We all hope that it will be quick. That in a year or two the -- this government in Iraq will be secure enough that they will be able to invite us to leave and we can do so, leaving behind us a government that can survive and that will be very different from what preceded it.

Iraq is one of the oldest countries in the world, that in its thousands of years of history never known democracy.

We're irritated because the Russians haven't figured out democracy in 15 years. There are still all these problems going on in Russia, a country that in its thousand years of history has never known democracy.

We're still working on it after 300 years."

He later states that he personally believes *any* talks with North Korea will fail...

So, what exactly is going on with this? I can no longer say that he is a pawn of the ISG, but he also does have that past to deal with.

If he will stick by his pronouncements, divorce himself from the ISG publicly, then I am willing to give him the benefit of ONE doubt.

Some of the rest of his foreign policy stuff I do not like, but that is Condi's realm, not his. He must clearly state that he is there to do the job of ensuring the strength of the Armed Forces, enacting the President's policy and NO ONE ELSES. And for all his Beirut problems, he *does* know that you cannot get terrorists 'the old fashioned way' having tried and failed. The INTEL component has been the #1 disconnect for the past 30 years between the CIA and the DoD, if not longer. John Negroponte is having a hard time getting the Agency off the dime, and an old leader in a New role coming to them and saying:'Get with the program and prove you are worth what we are paying you.' could do a world of good.

Coming in with Bush Family Rolodex Syndrome is not good, nor is being in the ISG. I notice the ISG does *not* put out 'minority reports'. How very Cold War, lock-step of them. And it is the Cold War and most of the 20th century thinking that now has to be jettisoned. I don't know if any of the Administration are finally ready to do that... but I am willing to let Mr. Gates have his say and demonstrate that he is no one's pawn and he is there because of his *ability* and that he has learned from his *mistakes*.

That can only come from him and not the tea leaves.

Posted by: ajacksonian at November 12, 2006 10:03 PM

Would somebody please explain to me what it will look like if the United States "wins the war in Iraq?"

We knew what it would look like if we won World War II: the Germans and the Japanese would surrender. They did; the war was over.

Assuming we stay the course, what, precisely, will the end of that course look like?

Posted by: Doc Washboard at November 12, 2006 10:56 PM

Assuming we stay the course, what, precisely, will the end of that course look like?


Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 13, 2006 12:23 AM

Doc Washboard:

That's the elephant in the room. Polls show that a majority of Iraqis distrust democracy and favor an Islamic government. The Shiites and Sunnis are blowing up eachother's mosques, torturing eachother with drills, and executing eachother with death squads. The Kurds simply want autonomy. It's unfair to ask our troops to solve this problem; there is no military solution.

Posted by: Earl at November 13, 2006 12:51 AM

Well shucks, Earl, when they poll the Terrorists and democrats what else would be the results.

For people who don't want democracy I wonder why so many Iraqi people showed up to vote, in 3 elections, almost 70 percent of the population. So I guess it means that the Iraqis really want to be subjugated and hearded like sheep and then led away to a firing squad as Saddam was wont to do. So freedom for all people is not what the donks is all about but rather subjecting people to the status quo as long as total appeasement takes place and the United States is blamed for all the evil in the world, then the donk agenda is fulfilled.

The democrats couldn't get that many votes if they included all the cemetaries in the country were included.

On Drudge, he has repoeted that the donks want to start pulling out troops as soon as six months. Their NOT cut and run strategy, is to cut and run, afterall, NOW there is a real surprise, and the bloodbath that will follow will make Pol Pot(Dickie Durbin's favorite leader) look like a fairy tale.

Posted by: Mark at November 13, 2006 11:28 AM

It's unfair to ask our troops to solve this problem; there is no military solution.

In a country of ~25M, there's only ~10,000-20,000 hardcore bad guys, and you can't see what the solution is? Damn.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 13, 2006 11:56 AM

Purple Avenger:

Battling 20,000 guys mixed in 25 million is a policing operation, not a military one. Our troops are trained in combat, not so much policing and intelligence. Every time they humiliate or accidentally kill somebody, there are several relatives who are pushed that much more to take up arms against our troops. Our troop death rate has stayed steady, so there's no evidence we are reducing the number of the enemy.


These guys started the war because of WMD, which turned out completely wrong, then they didn't take responsibility for that, instead they pretended like nation building was what they set out to do from the beginning. I regard nation building as a bunch of crap, and that, like balancing the budget, was one of the things I used to prize about the Republican party.

Then the administration thought they were *done* in 2003. One of the architects, Wolfowitz, said "there's no history of ethnic strife in Iraq." Now you guys are saying it was a war on terrorism all along. But Iraq used was a secular nation, and the terrorists are religious zealots. Oops.

The majority of Iraqis in several polls have said they want the Americans to leave. The majority said they distrust American style democracy, and the fact that 70% of the people voted does not disprove that, as you imply. I didn't say they wanted to be subjugated, you are putting words in my mouth. I won't speak for them. My point was that nation building is always claptrap, but in this case it is especially laughable. Similarly, you are jumping to conclusions saying that Dems don't want freedom for everyone (I'm in Independent by the way). The traditional Republican principle is that we should take care of our own first, and nation building is mushy liberalism. There never has been a democracy formed at the barrel of a gun. So what people want and what is doable are separate issues.

Bush obviously was determined to depose Saddam, but had absolutely no plan or clue about how to take care of the country after he broke it. They expected to be greeted with roses, and were completely surprised and uprepared by the insurgency and looting. Disbanding the army alone cost the lives of many of our troops.

As for a bloodbath if we leave: there's a bloodbath now. At least if we have a timetable, we'll know that we gave it our best shot: you have X months to solidify your police force, X months to set up your government, etc. How else are they to be expected to stand up? Otherwise it's too easy to continue depending on our troops to do their job for them. How long do you suppose the government could depend on our troops? Years and years. It's too easy for them, they've got to be made to stand up, not just told.

Posted by: Earl at November 13, 2006 12:59 PM

Battling 20,000 guys mixed in 25 million is a policing operation, not a military one.

Go down to your local PD and tell'em you know where a boobytrapped stash of RPG's and C4 is.

Get back to us on how fast they punt to a military EOD unit. I'll wait for your response.

Battling characters like this is EXACTLY what Delta, Seal 6, and host of others have trained for. If you think our military isn't capable of performing intel ops, you are woefully misinformed.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 13, 2006 01:58 PM

We have been neo-conned.

Once again our brave forces try to complete a mission when no one, including the CoC, can explain what the mission really is.

Now we cannot search for a kidnapped trooper because the terrorist/death-squad leader al-Sadr cut a deal to order our troops out of his fiefdom.

If we are not willing to kill the enemy we should pack up and come home, so we don't fill body bags for years to come.

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt at November 13, 2006 02:39 PM

Dhimmicretin motto: "Cut, run, and defund."

Vietnamization all over again.

BTW, when was the term WMD redefined to be "stockpiles of nuclear bombs"? When I was a CBR NCO sarin qualified.

Posted by: RRRoark at November 13, 2006 03:10 PM


David Kay, the man Bush charged to search for WMD, said "We were all wrong about WMD", and he also said that the 500 shells of nerve gas they found were old and less dangerous than stuff under your kitchen sink. Google it if you don't believe me.

It's a pity we didn't win Nam, what with the one country after another falling to the communists like dominoes, right?

Why don't you try leaving clown world every now and then.

Posted by: EArl at November 13, 2006 04:12 PM

Purple Avenger,

"Battling characters like this is EXACTLY what Delta, Seal 6, and host of others have trained for."

This is *partially* true, the elites are trained in counterinsurgency as well as combat. But the kicker is, what percentage of our troops in Iraq are elite forces?

The average serviceman is trained specifically for combat, not manning checkpoints. This is exactly what hobbled the Israeli army in Lebanon: their troops have been focused on policing, and have lost their edge in conventional combat.

Posted by: Earl at November 13, 2006 04:19 PM

150,000 US troops with the best military equipment money can buy (and some it can't) battling 10,000-20,000 hardcore bad guys with rudimentary arms should've been short and sweet. Fact is, this is a fight the US cannot win short of a full-scale reoccupation of Iraq, kow-towing to the "evil" regimes of Iran and Syria, and abandoning the neo-con dreams of remaking the Middle East.

Alternatively the US can betray the Iraqis as it has done before, leaving them to die in their hundreds of thousands after provoking a civil war. After all the Kurds have less than fond memories of US promises of support in 1991.

Either way, the world's sole super power will only have succeeded in proving it's impotence. That is the true legacy of George W. Bush.

Posted by: Gathara at November 14, 2006 07:05 AM