Friday, September 29, 2006

copy editor's more bipartisan headline for this rant

Through the miracle of "Tailrank", I drifted into the blogosphere to see reactions from Bob Woodward's latest. Now, nothing in Woodward's work, as it has been reported, seems all that surprising to me. However, I thought with this latest intonation of woe and peril there might be a reaction worth noting. At what point will the partisan bickering break down into real analysis of the situation? I guess I assumed we would approach that point -- that such a point might actually be close.

I was disappointed.

This latest news is broken down in the familiarly vapid mode of many blogs. The Prime example is Popinjay:
Just in time for the fall elections, Bob Woodward is out with his latest hit-piece on the Bush Administration called State of Denial. His big revelations include Henry Kissinger serving as an advisor to the administration and President Bush's determination not to withdraw prematurely from Iraq "even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting him."

No word if there are any death-bed confessionals in the book. I was expecting maybe to hear what Zarqawi's last words were before the bomb hit or something along those lines. Do you suppose he said, "I believe"?
Woodward's book is a "hit piece". There is no actual analysis of the state-of-affairs in Iraq as compared to what Bush says it is. No. His reaction is to quip.

I appreciate irony. In this case, I wanted to vomit. Here are my comments, which I am rather proud of:
"Popinjay"? Even your posting name is irony performing a double-back flip.

Cheese and Rice.

How on earth can you support this president at this point? All you have here are snippy retorts to a text you have not read. Bravo! Do you actually feel intelligent?

Have you read Kissinger's Op Ed from 8/2005? He states we need progress against the insurgency. Have you read reports on Devlin's accounting of al Anbar? He says we've lost or are losing to the insurgency. Have you read reactions from Colonel MacFarland of the 1st AD and others, including Devlin's boss? [aside: I wonder if a member of the "fighting keyboards" will figure out what 1AD means?] They say the report is accurate but we are not going to beat the insurgency. That is left for the Iraqis we are training.

The Shiite dominated Iraqis...

Oh, good plan.

Popinjay. I am still trying to come to terms with that name.
Kissinger concluded an Op Ed in summer 2005 with this:
The ultimate test of progress will therefore be the extent to which the Iraqi armed forces reflect -- at least to some degree -- the ethnic diversity of the country and are accepted by the population at large as an expression of the nation. Drawing Sunni leaders into the political process is an important part of an anti-insurgent strategy. Failing that, the process of building security forces may become the prelude to a civil war.

Can a genuine nation emerge in Iraq through constitutional means?

The answer to that question will determine whether Iraq becomes a signpost for a reformed Middle East or the pit of an ever-spreading conflict. For these reasons, a withdrawal schedule should be accompanied by some political initiative inviting an international framework for Iraq's future. Some of our allies may prefer to act as bystanders, but reality will not permit this for their own safety. Their cooperation is needed, not so much for the military as for the political task, which will test, above all, the West's statesmanship in shaping a global system relevant to its necessities.
Few if any of the broad points that Kissinger cites as reasonable goals have been realized. He lauds "Vietnamization", which has gained a great deal of cachet among conservative revisionists. If the policy was on the verge of success, why did the South buckle so swiftly when we withdrew support? Some success.

Sound policy and its effects (benefits... Sun Tzu) don't matter to the conservative theoretical elite. What does matter is back-explaining why you were correct and how you can now be more correct. Sunsequent back-explanations will be needed...

We waged war in Vietnam under the strategic rubric of "Domino theory". It was a major error in decision making. Now, we are once again in our own decision-cycle replaying an old war's rubric in a very different conflict. True "Iraqization" of that state would require, perhaps, 25 to 50 years (a guess, I freely admit). We pursue "Iraqization" on the cheap -- though the expense we have paid in treasure and more importantly blood has been tragic and extreme. Colonel Devlin says we have lost al Anbar politically. Do we expect Shiite army formations to retake that area any time soon? Why would they, even if they had the gumption? It's 1.) not Shiite and 2.) devoid of the resources in the Shiite/Kurd areas of the country. These are our Iraqized counterinsurgents.

This is policy rendered on scant political capital and buzz words. It is sobering to say the least.


Blogger Publia said...

And I was supposed to nudge you when you drifted left . . .

6:27 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

So nudged. The headline was a mistake, but it was a clever one at that. Play on the title of the book...

I am exasperated to see a book of 520 plus pages denounced with just a quip or two though.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

That's because no one reads a 520 -page book, any more, with the possible exception of you!

4:10 PM  
Blogger The Popinjay said...

It's all about credibility.

9:06 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Thanks, Publia.

My ambitions this week are to buy the book, read the book, and post some reflections. I also want to update my work up on the NIE.

Those are the ambitions.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

4:51 PM  

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