“Can Gen. Petraeus and Ryan Crocker Save the Next Democratic President?”

Posted September 11, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: Iraq, war

A Juan Cole must read……

If the Democrats cannot prevail in withdrawing before Bush goes out of office (and they cannot), and if they then rapidly draw down the troops on taking office in 2009, they face the real prospect of a “Gerald Ford meltdown” of the sort that occurred in 1975 when the North Vietnamese and their VC allies took over South Vietnam.

snip

Could 2010 look for Iraq like 1975 looked in Vietnam? Yes. I just do not see evidence that either the new Iraqi political class or the Iraqi security forces are likely to have the maturity to avoid a conflagration when the US military withdraws.

There are three major wars going on in Iraq: 1) for control of oil-rich Basra, among Shiite militias and tribes; 2) for control of Baghdad and its hinterlands between Sunni Arabs and Shiites; and 3) for control of oil-rich Kirkuk in the north, between Kurds on the one side and Arabs and Turkmen on the other.

snip

But in all likelihood, when the Democratic president pulls US troops out in summer of 2009, all hell is going to break loose. The consequences may include even higher petroleum prices than we have seen recently, which at some point could bring back stagflation or very high rates of inflation.

In other words, the Democratic president risks being Fordized when s/he withdraws from Iraq, by the aftermath. A one-term president associated with humiliation abroad and high inflation at home? Maybe I should say, Carterized. The Republican Party could come back strong in 2012 and then dominate politics for decades, if that happened.

It is all so unfair, of course, since Bush started and prosecuted this disaster in Iraq, and Bush is refusing to accept responsibility for the failure, pushing it off onto his successor.

But life is unfair.

So what can the Dems do to avoid being made the fall guy this way?

They could try to legislate stronger US diplomacy aiming at ensuring peace between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran even if there is sectarian violence on a greater scale in Iraq. They could resist the temptation to demonize Iran or to push it onto a war footing with threats or even bombings.

As for Iraq itself, the best hope for the Dems may be that Gen. Petraeus actually succeeds, over the next year, in significantly reducing ethnic tensions. It is a slim reed to hold onto, as they recognize.

But from the moment Bush went into Iraq, Americans were screwed. And that includes the Democratic Party, which is being set up to take the fall.

Read the rest

The question in my mind is.. ….Are the Dems smart enough to see this?

I fear they aren’t.

Advertisements

The Army is broken in more ways than one.

Posted August 11, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: Military intelligence, Private Contractors, Uncategorized, Wes Clark

Colonel W. Patrick Lang (Ret.) is a man who knows something about “humint”, having been the first Director of the Defense Humint Service and an Arab speaker to boot.

He had an interesting post up a while back detailing one of the main reasons we are failing in Iraq.

He explains it this way….

Counterinsurgency war demands an ability to find among the population the individuals and small groups who are the actual fighters .

The exception to this judgment is the application by SOF forces of massive national intelligence collection means to the pursuit of a small number of “high value” takfiri insurgents like Zarqawi.

This SOF effort is only a small part of what the command in Baghdad is supposed to be doing with its forces. The troops that you see on television in Fallujah, Diyalah, the Triangle of Death,” etc. are not SOF. They are the main forces; the army Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) and marine regimental combat teams (RCT) who are carrying the main burden of combat. These forces are effectively “fighting blind” against insurgent gunmen, IED implanters and militia armies.

The reason that is so is that the US Army has no effective clandestine HUMINT capability in Iraq. There is no ARMY (as opposed to DIA or CIA) organization designed to provide information support to maneuver unit commanders. If asked, the Army MI establishment will say that they “do” HUMINT. No, they don’t. What they usually mean by HUMINT is talking to someone, often a prisoner. Prisoners are human, but talking to them is not HUMINT in the sense that is generally understood in this context. That is the use of CONTROLLED local human agents on their own ground to determine the identity and location of the true effectives among the insurgent enemies. The US Army is not doing that in Iraq. If pressed on this point, the Army and the MI establishment point to what they call Tactical HUMINT Teams (THT). These teams are, in reality, made up of counterintelligence people, not espionage operators and the mission of the teams is that of “force protection” for the particular US combat unit that they are part of and with whom they move from place to place.

big snip

General (ret.) Meigs’ IED Defeat Task Force is reported to have spent three BILLION dollars so far in trying to find an “answer” to the murderous toll that IED attacks are taking on US forces. His technical and other “solutions” destroy more IEDs all the time but the number of IEDs planted and the body count keeps going up.

The Army likes the present complete integration and homogenization of the MI into being just another part of the Army, a part that does not “disturb” the common peace in which army people can feel good about each other. The only problem with this is that this total integration and homogenization has failed to do acceptable work in a war that is not going well at all.

He ends with this…..

….Don’t tell me that locals will not spy for the United States or that such work is hard or dangerous. “been there, done that.” I also am not interested in the “now enough linguists” argument. It can be done. Not interested in the “gay rights” argument either…

.
So, in Pat Lang’s eyes, “the usual suspects” stated above are only part of the story.

We all know that PNAC had been planning to overthrow Saddam since the end of the Gulf War……..

U.S. military action against Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein has long been a goal of members of the present Bush Administration. The PNAC report was based upon a 1992 draft of the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance, which was prepared for then-Defense Secretary Cheney, Wolfowitz and Libby. At the time Libby and Wolfowitz were part of Cheney’s policy staff.

And the Army had also been planning and training for this war for over a decade. …

THE U.S. MILITARY has not rested on its laurels since its success in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. The war is perceived as the benchmark against which to measure the most likely future conflicts. It also is seen as one that is likely to be repeated in the future. Military planners believe they will be called on to fight again, somewhere in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), in the not too far distant future. To that end, they not only are strengthening American presence in the region, but also are restructuring the entire U.S. military in order to be able to support the American forces better when they are called upon to intervene again.

So, how did we get it so wrong?

There are so many answers to that question….but one of the main ones has to be the outsourcing of critical military functions to profit based, bottom line, war profiteers.

We keep reading stories about how the Army is broke….and it is. But it seems to me that even if the war stopped right now, and we had 20 years to rebuild, we will be as unprepared for the next crisis as we were for this one unless there are sea changes in the fundamentally wrong thinking going on with many of the top brass.

As Wes Clark once said ……..

“We have to put that jack back in the box”

If Edwards were a Republican, he’d be pilloried in the Lefty Blogosphere.

Posted June 2, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: 2008 election, Edwards, Politics

First there was the $400 hair cut, then the connection to a despicable hedge fund. Then there was the “I shouldn’t have listened to consultants in the IWR vote”. And now we find that he lied in an interview about reading the NIE.

Lets face it, if Edwards were not a Democrat, each gaff would be amplified and ridiculed by our favorite on line pundits much like they have tarred and feathered Romney and Giuliani for similar indiscretions. But instead we get pabulum like this from a Chris Bowers.

The progressive bloggers appear to be bending over backwards to make excuses…even Matt Yglesias!. What’s with that? (Caveat: I have no issue with Matt’s trashing of Shrum, but where’s his outrage about Edwards? I mean….the man’s running for the leader of the free world, fercripessake!)

I don’t know about you, but I get my information on line because it is more likely to be closer to the unadulterated truth than the drivel I read/see in the MSM. But it looks like the great lefty blogosphere suffers the same malady as the people who editorialize in the MSM. They let their feelings override their brains.

Bottom line, Edwards is either none too bright……or a liar. Take your pick. Neither one bodes well for the highest office in the land.

Personally, I’ve always thought he was a phony, and the latest revelations are making me look like a sage. I wonder how long it will take the progressive activists to catch on?

We are the danger. Not Iran!

Posted May 5, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: Iran, Wes Clark

A must read by Steven D at Booman

The deadly missile attack on the USS Stark was unleashed by a Mirage F-1 jet — flown by an Iraqi pilot who mistook the U.S. warship for an Iranian vessel. […]

snip

Responding to the great loss of lives “in a spasm of rage at the one country that had nothing to do with the American deaths,” Republican Senator and ex-Secretary of the Navy John Warner denounced Iran as “a belligerent that knows no rules, no morals.” In language that hinted of military action, Democratic Senator John Glenn slammed Iran as “the sponsor of terrorism and the hijacker of airliners.”

Yes, you read that right. An Iraqi warplane destroyed the USS Stark with a cruise missile, and both Democrats and Republicans at the time condemned Iran, the country that had absolutely nothing to do with the tragic loss of 37 American lives,

This is what makes me nervous about our leading Democratic presidential candidates, when they pander for votes and campaign contributions from organizations like AIPAC, a conservative pro-Israeli lobbying group which has consistently called for the US military to attack Iran. Both parties and the media have painted Iran as the number one threat to America for so long, that we forget that the truth is actually the reverse:

It is the United States that has been, and continues to be, the single greatest threat to Iran and its people.

Read the whole thing.

Dan D gets it. He lays out one of the main reasons why Clark supporters like me are unable back any of the other candidates.

It’s a dangerous world out there and the last thing we need is a President who is stuck in a political mind set……..damn the evidence. It doesn’t matter if it’s by ignorance or ideology, the damage will be no less severe.

Run Wes Run

How to make War for Fun and Profit!

Posted May 4, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: Iraq, Private Contractors, war, Wes Clark

So, there’s a big battle going on in Washington over the Iraq Supplemental. And although I’m for any bill that brings home our troops sooner, what I’d like to know is this. Where does the money go once it’s approved? Does it go to the young men and woman who have been torn from there families two, three, sometimes four times in a row. Does it go to the soldiers who can’t get the body armor or the equipment they need? Does it go to those who are increasingly being used as cannon fodder…..sacrificed on the alter of lies, incompetence and yes, war profiteering?

Someone needs to look into exactly where the money goes once it gets into the hands of the “decider guy”, because I’m afraid that it’s being funneled to people like these………..

Combat Pay is ridiculous. The other night I was out drinking and ran into this guy who makes $15,000 every two weeks setting up IT systems. Some are making $400,000 a year working security or supervision.

I am making six figures doing a job that is one of the easiest I have ever had. I had a supervisor in Camp Taji who couldn’t read or spell or speak or really do anything productive besides breathe and smoke cigarettes. She labeled our Supply Manual with “Suppy Manula” and she was making six figures.

So who exactly are these people?

Characters you could not muster in your wildest dreams. The nuts and bolts of the machine are all loose and ready to drop at anytime. Some of the people out here are only one step away from the crazy f*cks you see in a 7-11 talking to the hot dog machine. There are some sane people, but not many, and they are boring anyway.

About that ‘profit” thang……

Contracting allows the government to disperse funds in a cloaked fashion and to stand upon the shoulders of the corporate giants: Raytheon, Kellogg Brown and Root, Halliburton, Boeing, Blackwater, URS. And at the feet of these giants scurry the smaller contract rats that feast on all the meat and bones dropped from the giants’ table . History will one day catch up to the scams, the money shuffles, the seedy business. There is an insane amount of money over here.
It is sad, though, when you realize that a soldier going beyond the wire and making $25,000 a year and risking his life daily is being mocked by some 250-pound chick who is sitting behind a desk in a posh office eating Twinkies and making $130,000 a year…..

Our tax dollars at work! /snark

Seriously, this country has lost it’s moral compass. And the only way I see for us to get it back is to elect a President in 2009 who is untainted by special interests. We need someone who exudes Honor with a capital “H” and Integrity with capital “I”. And most of all….we need someone who has a track record of putting country before party.

In my view, the only man who fits the bill is Wes Clark.

Run Wes Run!

Booman has more about the contractor debacle here.

Inevitability of the front runners? Not..so…fast!

Posted April 5, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: Politics, Presidential campaign, Wes Clark

Stuart Rothenberg says that it’s all baloney

Unfortunately, too many of us who cover politics are treating the 2008 presidential race as if it were the National Football League — where virtually every game is critical in the hunt for the playoffs.

Sorry, but that’s not exactly the way the presidential race works, at least not now that the campaign starts more than a year before Iowa.

The presidential race more closely resembles the Major League Baseball season. It’s very long. And unless a candidate makes a major, macaca-like blunder, the daily ups and downs of a 12-month campaign won’t be all that important until late 2007, or even early ’08.

Remember 2003?

…The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., showed Gephardt (27 percent) and Dean (20 percent) leading in a Nov. 2-5, 2003, survey of 501 likely caucus attendees.

A late November-early December 2003 Princeton Survey Research Associates poll of “likely Democratic caucus voters statewide” for the Pew Research Center found Dean surging ahead (29 percent), with Gephardt running second (21 percent), Kerry third (18 percent) and Edwards fourth, at 5 percent, a single point ahead of Dennis Kucinich…..

Those pesky polls aren’t worth the paper they’re written on….

..Similarly, these early national polls are an incredible waste of money and energy. They, too, tell us remarkably little about the nominees. The Republican and Democratic nominations aren’t determined by a national vote, yet media organizations and polling companies continue to take national surveys. It’s incredible….

In summation

It’s fun to talk about the race and to look for strengths and weaknesses of candidates. We can all chatter about fundraising totals, smile knowingly about the most recent confrontation that most likely will be soon forgotten and speculate about the future. But anyone who figures that the early developments that we’ve been watching, including the national polls, are really telling you who will win the two nominations for president is somebody with no sense of history and no understanding of politics.

So, those of us who have worrid that the window might be closing on a Wes Clark candidacy…..and I confess I’m one of them………we might need to chill.

For me, Mr. Rothenberg’s article is a reality check.

That said!

Run Wes Run!!

StopIranWar.com

Pre-order Wes Clark’s new book.

Posted April 5, 2007 by mad4clark
Categories: Presidential campaign, Wes Clark

You can pre-order on Amazon:

A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country
(Hardcover)
by Wesley K. Clark (Author)

Description

Four-star General Wesley K. Clark became a major figure on the political scene when he was drafted by popular demand to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2003. But this was just one of many exceptional accomplishments of a long and extraordinary career. Here, for the first time, General Clark uses his unique life experience—from his difficult youth in segregated Arkansas where he was raised by his poor, widowed mother; through the horror of Vietnam where he was wounded; the post-war rebuilding of national security and the struggles surrounding the new world order after the Cold War—as a springboard to reveal his vision for America, at home and in the world. General Clark will address issues such as foreign policy, the economy, the environment, education and health care, family, faith, and the American dream.
Rich with breathtaking battle scenes, poignant personal anecdote and eye-opening recommendations on the best way forward, General Clark’s new book is a tour de force of gripping storytelling and inspiring vision.

About the Author

General Wesley K. Clark served in the United States Army for thirty-four years and rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He is author of the best selling books Waging Modern War and Winning Modern Wars. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tom Carhart holds a B.S. from West Point, two Purple Hearts from Vietnam, a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and a Ph.D. in American and military history from Princeton University. The author of five military history books, his latest is Lost Triumph: Lee’s Real Plan at Gettysburg–and Why It Failed. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I scanned left and right, hoping they weren’t maneuvering around us. I could tell something was wrong with my foot – it wasn’t moving right, and now I could see the broken bone sticking out of my hand. I wasn’t in pain, but I really didn’t want to be right here, right now – not like this. For an awful instant I remembered my three month old son at home, my son whom I hadn’t even seen yet.
No, it wasn’t going to end like this, and I suppressed the thought.
Focus. Fight. Take charge.

“Get that gun going!” I shouted again, as I looked back under my left arm and saw the first troops come across the little footbridge. They were here. And they came running, those peace-symbol-lovin’, foul-cussin’, war-hatin’, draftee American soldiers came, right into the firefight. They came right into the smack of the bullets, and the whine of the ricochets. They were called forward, and they came! God, I loved them.—From A Time to Lead

It’s due out September 18th. 2007. Perfectly timed for racheting up the campaign. 🙂

StopIranWar.com