When former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had the temerity to criticize the leadership of the chosen one for failing to secure a Status of Forces agreement, i.e. an official grant of permission for the US military to operate in Afghanistan, from what is essentially, in fact, a puppet regime which we installed into power in the first place, observing that “a trained ape” could have gotten one, Andrew Sullivan and his Dish came noisily to the Kenyan Caliban’s defense in their customary hair-pulling and nail-clawing vituperative fashion.
Whatâ€™s truly striking and amazing about Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld is their persistent refusal/inability to reflect in any serious way on the immense moral, fiscal, and human costs of their failed wars. They are post-modern creatures â€“ Rumsfeld never tackled an insurgency, he just â€œredefinedâ€ the word, just as he re-named torture â€“ and you see this most graphically in Errol Morrisâ€™s small masterpiece, The Unknown Known. And so the very concept of personal accountability and responsibility is utterly absent. There was one flash of it: when Rumsfeld offered his resignation after the torture programâ€™s reach and migration was revealed in the photos from Abu Ghraib. But even then, Rumsfeld was resigning because of the exposure â€“ not because of the war crimes which he directly authorized.
What is truly striking and amazing about Andrew Sullivan, and his colleagues at the Dish, is their reliance on Big Lie repetition of mendacious left-wing talking points delivered in blizzard form, intentionally making any effort at refutation so time-consuming, lengthy and laborious as to be nearly impossible.
“immense moral, fiscal, and human costs of their failed wars” ?
Significant elements of the military and intelligence leadership of Pakistan were obviously in cahoots with the jihadi terrorists of al Qaeda and the Taliban, which explains why it is that Osama bin Ladin, after fleeing Afghanistan, wound up living within a few hundred yards of Pakistan’s military academy in Abbotabad.
Terrorism costs money, and the money supporting the 9/11 plot and al Qaeda generally came principally from Saudi Arabia. 15 of 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudis.
Iran, no differently from Iraq, was (and is) a regime sponsor of international terrorism, a passionate adversary of America and the West in general, an odious tyranny, and a persistent developer (and potential disseminator) of WMDs, including nuclear weapons. Iran was no less worthy than Iraq as target of regime change.
As to the allegedly immense fiscal costs, Andrew Sullivan would clearly be better informed if he regularly read my blog. Back in 2010, I quoted Randall Hoven who put the costs of the Iraq War into perspective. (I’m deliberately restricting the discussion to Iraq-related figures and arguments in the interests of brevity.)
If we look only at the Iraq War years in which Bush was President (2003-2008), spending on the war was $554B. Federal spending on education over that same time period was $574B.
Obamaâ€™s stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq Warâ€”more than $100 billion
Just the first two years of Obamaâ€™s stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.
Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2% of all federal spending while it lasted.
Iraq War spending was not even one quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame.
Iraq War spending was not even 15% of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.
The Iraq War accounts for less than 8% of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).
During Bushâ€™s Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)
With respect to “human costs,” US casualties during the Iraq War were lower than casualties produced by accidents during peace-time twenty years earlier.
YEAR//TOTAL MILITARY FTE//NBR OF U.S. Military Deaths
(a) FTE = Full Time Equivalent personnel, based on DoD fiscal year-end totals
Now, here are the comparable totals for the most recent, four-year period:
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress, American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, Updated June 29, 2007
With respect to “failed wars,” Andrew & company are obviously wildly rhetorically over-reaching. Iraq may not have been transformed by the Bush Administration’s efforts into a perfect democracy and the peacable kingdom, enjoying perfect domestic comity and able to serve as a model of superb administration and happy Westernization, but neither is Iraq any longer a major regime sponsor of terrorism and regional troublemaker. Its government is infinitely more democratic than it used to be, and the people and leadership groups of Iraq have a decidedly greater opportunity to make their own choices, for good or ill, than they did under the national socialist tyranny of Baathism. The invasion and occupation of Iraq may have led to a less conclusively positive result than might be desired, but it certainly compares favorably to the results of previous American military efforts in Korea (which left the enemy isolated, but actively making mischief and building –and potentially disseminating– weapons of mass destruction ) and in Vietnam (where the enemy won and went on to occupy and enslave a US ally).
Domestic traitors, like Andrew Sullivan and the democrat party, who opportunistically switched positions on the war and began enthusiastically lending aid and comfort to the enemy, undermining the morale of the American public, libeling the motives of our actions, and impugning the justice of our cause obviously had a great deal to do with the prolongation of the war and the American government’s cloture of the mission in Iraq without complete success at pacification and democratization.
The Dish preaching about “failed wars” is rather like Lord Haw-Haw or Tokyo Rose during WWII denouncing Allied efforts to maintain troop morale always at enthusiastic levels, after years of broadcasting Axis propaganda.
The Wall Street Journal noted yesterday a certain inconsistency in the way Columbia University enforces support for Gay Rights in its campus access policies.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his doubts about whether the Holocaust happened. He thinks the Jewish state should be wiped off the map. His regime funnels sophisticated munitions to Shiite militias in Iraq, who use them to kill American soldiers.
Oh, and by the way, his regime also executes homosexuals for the crime of being themselves. Maybe if Columbia University President Lee Bollinger were aware of the latter fact he would reconsider his invitation to the Iranian president to speak on his campus next Monday.
Mr. Bollinger, notoriously, voted in 2005 not to readmit an ROTC program to Columbia (absent from the university since 1969), ostensibly on the grounds of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay service members. Never mind that other upper-tier schools, including Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania all have ROTC programs. Never mind, too, that in 2003 the Columbia student body voted in favor of readmission by a 2-1 margin. In Mr. Bollinger’s view, “the university has an obligation, deeply rooted in the core values of an academic institution and in First Amendment principles, to protect its students from improper discrimination and humiliation.”
Mr. Bollinger’s position might at least be coherent were he not now invoking the same principles to justify his invitation to Mr. Ahmadinejad, whose offenses to gay rights and any other form of human dignity considerably exceed the Pentagon’s. After promising that he would introduce the president “with a series of sharp challenges” — including Iran’s “reported support” for international terrorism — he went on to say that “it is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their expression.”
We’re all for free speech and the vigorous exchange of intellectual differences, though we don’t see how Mr. Bollinger can be, given his decision to discriminate against young men and women who seek to make careers in the military. We also don’t quite see how the right to free speech — a freedom Mr. Ahmadinejad conspicuously denies his own people — is tantamount to the right to an illustrious pedestal. Columbia is a selective institution in its choice of students as well as speakers; its choices confer distinction on those whom it selects. Were it otherwise, Mr. Ahmadinejad would surely have better uses for his time.
And the Journal’s comments must have stung, because Lee Bollinger promptly deleted the honorific portion of Columbia University’s invitation, removing Ahmadinejad’s from a “World Leader’s Forum” program. At this point, however, Ahmadinejad is still scheduled to deliver an address at Columbia.
The president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, yesterday withdrew an invitation to the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The dean of Columbia’s school of international and public affairs, Lisa Anderson, had independently invited Mr. Ahmadinejad to speak at the World Leader’s Forum, a year-long program that aims to unite “renowned intellectuals and cultural icons from many nations to examine global challenges and explore cultural perspectives.”
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Mr. Bollinger said he canceled Mr. Ahmadinejad’s invitation because he couldn’t be certain it would “reflect the academic values that are the hallmark of a University event such as our World Leaders Forum.” He told Ms. Anderson that Mr. Ahmadinejad could speak at the school of international and public affairs, just not as a part of the university-wide leader’s forum.
And Ahmadinejad is clearly doing a lot better than former Harvard President Larry Summers, who is regarded as such a villain in the groves of Academy for merely speculating upon the possibility of other explanations besides discrimination for the less frequent academic focus of women on science, mathematics, and engineering that faculty members at the University of California at Davis were able to pressure their regents into withdrawing an invitation to Summers.
For some reason, I encountered several interesting articles about Donald Rumsfeld and came to be pretty impressed with the guy. I don’t mean his leadership style, or his decisions or anything like that. I mean personality-wise. He’s got a great bio: elected to the House of Representatives at age 29, worked his way through Washington for nearly two decades before departing for the private sector. There he turned around two companies that were failing, and by all accounts, he did so with panache.
My boss became interested in Rummy too. We started to trade bits and pieces of information we encountered here and there. I told him I had read somewhere that Rumsfeld kept a an old tape deck in his office and when working late, would throw in a cassette of patriotic marches and pick up some dumbbells and do a few sets, just to get the blood flowing. My boss saw an interview on TV conducted at Rumsfeld’s ranch in New Mexico. A lifelong friend, who was a successful businessman himself, said that Rummy has the energy of “five successful men.” Another article I read noted that Rumsfeld doesn’t sit at a desk, choosing instead to stand all day between two tall tables. Another noted his habit of frequently walking long distances to appointments in the capital, instead of hopping in his security vehicle – to the chagrin of his security detail. The man, while in his early 70s, would work 16 hour days, then routinely beat his subordinates at a squash game, then go home and spend his free time . . . writing a book for his wife about what a great person she is. I’m not making any of this up.
When I finally left active duty, at a small gathering of officers, my boss presented me with a nice plaque which read, “1st Lt Joshua Manchester: Like Rumsfeld, only smaller.” I thought this was hilarious (I am only 5′ 7″) and a great compliment.
The London Times reports that some Americans are not rejoicing over Donald Rumsfeld’s departure.
Half of America and the upper echelons of the US military may be cheering Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation from the post of Defence Secretary, but there was no rejoicing yesterday among those most directly affected by his decisions: the frontline soldiers in Iraq.
Troops expressed little pleasure at the departure of the man responsible for their protracted deployment to a hostile country where 2,839 of their comrades have died.
Indeed, some members of the 101st Airborne Division and other troops approached by The Times as they prepared to fly home from Baghdad airport yesterday expressed concern that Robert Gates, Mr Rumsfeld’s successor, and the Democrat-controlled Congress, might seek to wind down their mission before it was finished.
Mr Rumsfeld “made decisions, he stuck with them and he did what he thought was right, whether people agreed with it, liked it, or not”, Staff Sergeant Frank Notaro said. He insisted that Iraq was better off now than before the war.
Staff Sergeant Michael Howard said: “It’s a blow to the military. He was a good Secretary of Defence. He kept us focused. He kept the leaders focused. It’s going to be hard to fill his shoes.”
Here is the record of Donald Rumsfeld. (1) Tried to take a top-heavy Pentagon and prepare it for the wars of the postmodern world, in which on a minute’s notice thousands of American soldiers, with air and sea support, would have to be sent to some god-awful place to fight some savagery—and then be trashed live on CNN for doing it; (2) less than a month after 9/11 he organized the retaliation against al Qaeda in the heart of primordial Afghanistan that removed the Taliban in 7 weeks, when we were all warned that the U.S., like the British and Russians of old, would fail; (3) oversaw the removal of Saddam in 3 weeks—after the 1991 Gulf War and the 12-years of 350,000 sorties in the no-fly-zones, and various bombing strikes, had failed. (4) Ah, you say, then there is the disastrous 3-year insurgency—too few troops, Iraqi army let go, underestimated “dead-enders” etc.?
But Rumsfeld knew that in a counterinsurgency (cf. Vietnam 1965-71) massive deployments only ensure complacency, breed dependency, and create resentment, and that, in contrast, training indigenous forces, ensuring political autonomy, and providing air and commando support (e.g., Vietnam circa 1972-4) is the only answer—although that is a long process that can work only if political support at home allows the military to finish the job (cf. the turn-of-the-century Philippines, and the British in Malaysia). He was a good man, and we were lucky to have him in our hour of need.
And Chris Lynch offers (an imaginary) interview:
ALR: Mr. Secretary – thank you so much for taking this time on what I’m sure is a difficult day. Can I ask if you are perhaps feeling a little bitter at the President right now?
Rummy: I always have time for my friends Chris. As far as feeling bitter towards the President – goodness no. I serve at the pleasure of the President and have offered my resignation a number of times. If truth be told – I’m a little bit in awe. I mean I don’t think I’ve seen such a fine piece of political Jujitsu in my whole time in public service.
ALR: Political Jujitsu? I’m sorry Mr. Secretary but I don’t follow you.
Rummy: Nobody saw this move coming yesterday. Nobody was prepared. It was a brilliant shifting of weight. Yesterday was supposed to be the Democrats big day. They were all going to wear new suits and dresses and give speeches congratulating themselves and talking about how they were going to fix the country. Instead all the news programs spent that time speaking about my resignation and today all the print media will be talking about me and my successor. The Democrats can’t even complain because they have been practically begging for my resignation. By the time this dies down – nobody will want to look at their new suits or pretty dresses and they sure won’t want to hear their flowery speeches because the time would have been well past that. The bonus is that the Main Stream Media doesn’t even see how they were used. Brilliant move by the President.
I don’t know if I agree with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on everything, but I certainly have an enormously greater amount of respect for Rumsfeld than I do for his enemies, and I hate to see them get their way.
On the occasion of his resignation, it seems appropriate to me, by way of remembrance, to quote a few of his own rules for public service.
Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.
Don’t think of yourself as indispensable or infallible. As Charles de Gaulle said, the cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.
Let your family, staff and friends know that you’re still the same person, despite all the publicity and notoriety that accompanies your position.
Don’t be consumed by the job or you’ll risk losing your balance. Keep your mooring lines to the outside world — family, friends, neighbors, people out of government and people who may not agree with you.
Know that the amount of criticism you receive may correlate somewhat to the amount of publicity you receive.
If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the president and do wonders for your performance.
The MSM is gleefully pointing to an editorial scheduled for publication in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times, and Marine Corps Times on Monday demanding Donald Rumsfeld’s ouster as Secretary of Defense, treating its publication as devastating evidence of non-confidence within the services.
What the MSM is not telling the public is that the publications in question are not produced by the US military, but are an independent group of weekly newspapers owned by the liberal Gannett newspaper chain. Their editorialist is not a soldier, a sailor, or a marine. He’s just another pinhead liberal journalist, whose personal opinion is not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Rumsfeld ought to reply to this editorialist, as Max Reger once did to an unfavorable reviewer:
I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me.