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Monday, December 18, 2006

Power Without Apologies For Acting Powerless

There is a risk to assigning competence where there is folly.

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DNC Acting As If They’re Powerless


I understand the view: Perhaps if Reid gives the President what he and the commanders may want, that will let Reid get what he wants. The notion sounds good, but is premised on a few flaws.

(1) Disingenuous concern with military commanders

Giving the commanders “what they want now” implicitly assumes they haven’t been getting what they have wanted – more troops – despite the President assuring us that he’s been listening. He hasn’t. It can hardly be called credible to reward the President’s lies by giving him what he’s failed to provide: The resources to do the job. That’s maladministration.

___ What suddenly changed to make the President and others to, this late in the game, suddenly start listening to concerns that there weren’t enough troops?

Answer: They’ve run out of excuses.

___ The original plans stated US forces needed to be at 450K level; but the original invasion was about 150K troops; that’s a 300,000 shortfall. Since the original invasion, the situation has gotten worse, suggesting the original 450K troop level would not have been enough. Why are we arguing over a 20K troop increase in 2006, when the original numbers – used as a baseline – indicated the shortfall was known in 2003 as being ten times the proposed increase.

Answer: This is a smokescreen.

___ Is it not most reasonable to conclude that a 20K troop increase is meaningless; and that additional troops, either from Syria or Iran are needed; or the US needs a military draft?

Answer: Yes, 20K isn’t sufficient.

2. Camel’s Nose Under the Tent

Once Reid and others vote for something, as the Congress did in authorizing force, the President and his apologists are likely going to use that vote of support as an excuse to do other things the have otherwise not been willing to do despite the wholesale defiance of the legal and military constraints.

___ What’s going to stop the Executive Branch from making the same argument – “unless you support the flawed GOP policies, you’ll be seen as being weak on America.”

Answer: The DNC is going to find a new excuse to react to the GOP non-sense.

___ There were arguments that once the insurgents learned the US was going to withdraw by a date-certain, they’ll wait until the US leaves then start. Despite making a known exit date of 2008, the reverse has happened: Deaths are increasing well over the 2003 baseline figures. How can the US argue in 2006 that adding 20K troops in 2007, then pulling the troops out by 2008 will amount to a sound policy?

Answer: This is not a sound policy.

___ Military officers in the Army have suggested that most insurgencies last about 10 years. The incorrectly presumes that the ground commanders have enough troops. Is the US arguing for the “10-year timeframe” [meaning: We have about 6 more years to go until victory] as a basis to measure progress, but this deadline or planning milestone is based on what we do not have – sufficient troops?

Answer: The 10-year deadline for success is based on what the US does not have a plan to do: Provide enough troops. There is no basis to believe the “it will only take six more years”-argument is credible. The US failed to focus on Afghanistan, and did not build off the goodwill of Sept 2001. It’s too late to start a draft; the insurgency is growing faster than the maximum draftees who can be trained

(3) President not constrained by unilateral Reid assertion of an agreement

Once Reid and others vote for more troops, there’s nothing to say that the increase will be matched by an appropriate Presidential response later. Because Reid and others might support a change in policy today on condition of something else happening, there’s no guarantee those future conditions, when met, will necessarily translate in a reversal. Reid and others will be in the same position – fearful that a reversal of support will be “interpreted” as not supporting the troops.

__ What can the DNC really do, except impeach the President or withhold funds, to punish the President for botching the operations in Iraq?

Answer: The DNC is not holding the President to account; and any agreement with him is an excuse in the future for the GOP to argue, “You gave us this so far, you can’t stop now.”

(4) Subsequent conditions “justify” breaking agreement Reid unable to enforce

Even if Reid were to get a commitment of anything, there’s nothing to say that the President and others could not craft another excuse to ignore the agreement, or point to “new conditions” as an excuse to put more pressure on Reid in the future: Unless you vote for more troops – an additional increase after the 20-30,000 numbers of 2006 – the RNC is likely to make the same argument: “Look, Reid was for it, but now he doesn’t support the troops.”

___ What if the President is sitting on assessments showing the 20K increase isn’t enough; are we going to believe “new” assessments saying that 40K troops would make a difference?

Answer: Yes, there are new excuses: First to expand the troops at an insufficient rate; then expand combat operations into additional theaters the US cannot support or sustain. The Reid approach fails to explain how the US will be able to credibly support combat operations in Somalia or Sudan, while simultaneously supporting the Saudi-backed plan to invade Iran.

(5) Meaningless additional increase

By supporting the change in policy – incrementally – Reid and others have bought the illusion that a small increase – even at numbers that won’t solve the problem – might solve the problem, when the real solution would require orders of magnitude larger. Adding 20K troops is meaningless when the net result fails to do anything. A 20K troop increase might have done something in 2003 after the immediate invasion; but the insurgent numbers have well blossomed so that a 20K increase is meaningless.

___ If the 20K additional troops isn’t enough, will Reid and others say before 2008, “OK, pull them out”?

Answer: It’s likely the DNC will be sufficiently distracted by the debacle in Iraq, that they won’t realize they’ve been diverted from doing what should have been done long ago: Impeaching the President for Maladministration. It is not likely the US will, as it has not done after the 2006 elections, call for a withdrawal of troops.

___ If we know the 20K isn’t going to be enough, why not add more, and fully stabilizes Iraq per the Geneva requirements?

Answer: That’s the big mystery. The required troops levels are far above what the DNC or GOP can sell. This is an incremental increase.

___ If the US isn’t able to sustain the situation, regardless the troop levels, why not put down our differences with Iran and Syria over the lower priority issues, and work with them to stabilize Syria – bringing Iranian and Syrian forces into Iraq?

Answer: The US would rather have enemies than solutions.

(6) Support the Troops Argument: Not backed by Presidential leadership, plans, or support

As has become the case since 2001, it appears each time the DNC hope to inject prudence into the debate, the RNC has waved the, “Don’t undermine the troops”-argument, despite the President first undermining them by not fully supporting their resources requirements. It’s absurd to suggest that the DNC has to respond to the RNC calls about “supporting the troops,” when the RNC hasn’t supported the troops but with meaningless leadership, lies, and promises.

___ When is the US leadership in the DNC going to call this debacle what it is—a GOP assertion of an agenda, while wholly ignoring the troops requirements, yet pretending the GOP failures are in the DNC?

Answer: The DNC is not willing to assert reality, they are afraid of calling the GOP what they are: War criminals – calling a spade a spade, in the mind of the DNC leadership, is too risky. They would rather whine about having no power, than facing the reality that they have power, but are powerless.

___ How can the GOP credibly argue that the DNC is or is not doing anything in 2006 – the GOP has undermined the troops: The GOP has failed to provision them, did not listen to the commanders, and has failed to support them as required.

Answer: The DNC is powerless to oppose and refute the GOP non-sense.

(7) Smokescreen from continued GOP ability to manipulate DNC

Even if the President is given what he “want,” I have no confidence that any agreement he makes, nor a conditional response, will be enforceable. The GOP lost the election, yet it’s the DNC that’s walking on eggshells. This isn’t a victory for the DNC when the GOP can still manipulate the DNC to respond to the President’s agenda: Blame the Congress for everything, as the Public refuses to hold the real troublemakers accountable: The NeoCons, President, and Executive Branch flunkies.

___ If the DNC had real power, it would no longer have to respond to absurd thinking. How can anyone argue the DNC has real power when it believes, rightly or wrongly, it has to respond to flawed GOP arguments?

Answer: One only has power if they are willing to use it at their discretion, not, as the DNC is doing, in reacting to the supposedly-defeated GOP agenda.