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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rumsfeld Memo: End of the American Age?

The memo suggests considerable confusion within the US national command authority, warranting further monitoring by NATO allies. The memo leaves little doubt the Untied States leadership is irresponsible, reckless, incompetent, and in a losing position.

There is no credible basis for US policy options, assessments, or credibility as a reliable counter party for geostrategic planning. The convoluted picture should give world leaders pause in their examination of US post-Iraq plans in Venezuela, NATO expansion, or other options to interact with Middle East allies.

The memo might as well say, "The US is finished as a credible geostrategic power."

The memo has too many inconsistencies to be taken seriously as a plan. [ Backup for Memo ]

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Rumsfeld's memo deliberately offers a range of rambling, inconsistent options designed to confuse Congress, and induce them to agree with options that they would otherwise reject if originally presented without this distraction.

The memo is evidence of recklessness, incompetence, and of interest to war crimes prosecutors. If this has been "classified," we can only speculate the quality of other trash the President has celebrated, not rejected.

Congress will likely consider this list as the range of possible options, not realizing that the most reasonable options are different, involving other nations. The list is striking in that it contradicts the informal three options: Stay the course, build up, or get out.

Briefing, moving troops to Baghdad will give the insurgents what they want. Threatening to withdraw or withhold security assistance is not lawful under Geneva. Withdrawing reconstruction is a meaningless threat: There's insufficient contrast to suggest that the US has offered any meaningful reconstruction.

These options could easily be applied to the GOP or Congress, yet on issues of the law, the US leadership has removed options from the table.


The memo needs to be looked at in terms of other studies which have been available, or have been discussed: ISG, Caesar options.

Not a Valid Option Study for POTUS

The list is not a viable option study or assessment worthy of Presidential consideration, nor something necessarily linked with any credible Staff coordination. Anyone could have dreamed this list without much trouble. This is not a staff product, but something the German Senior Staff, seeing they had no winnable options, might have presented to Hitler as the allied forces crossed the Elbe.

The memo quality is not impressive suggesting more of a brain storming list, than something from a competent leader who may have used the fruits of staff work to present viable options.

A credible option study would show more than a list of things, but include the range of activity under each option, including how to implement, the risks associated with each approach, and the viability of each option relative to legal requirements.

The option study, as presented in the memo, shows DoD has a major problem with comprehending what is happening; what might work; or the probability of success. None of the options credibly include the conditions on the ground; nor do they factor in what the Iraqis may desire; nor are there viable considerations for the regional solutions outside the US umbrella.

Contrast Objective

The goal may be, in light of Bush's decision to replace Rumsfeld with Gates, to have created the most confusing picture of staff work, so that Gates, by contrast, might be able to -- without doing anything -- create the illusion of better management. Same problem, but repackaged more coherently, may induce Congress to believe (incorrectly) that things are better managed.

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The US cannot legally "attempt" to do anything; it must provide security.

Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it

Translation: This is like Stalingrad. The US is putting its entire ready, combat capability in a single city. Despite the US having deployed reserve troops from the US, and taken troops out of Afghanistan (that place which was related to 9-11, apparently), the US has no troops. If this is a needed option, the US has essentially said, "We no longer have sufficient combat troops to ensure the United States is fully protected." This is in effect admitting the US government can no longer guarantee what is has the obligation to do: Ensure the US Citizens are fully protected.

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This option is not consistent with Geneva, which requires the occupying force (the US) to maintain security, not selectively maintain security:
Initiate an approach where U.S. forces provide security only for those provinces or cities that openly request U.S. help and that actively cooperate

The entire country is falling apart and in a civil war:
Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling

___ After taking the US out of "vulnerable" positions, why have the forces there at all?

Withdrawing won't solve anything. Iraq doesn't have the resources to do this. They already know they have a problem. Making the problem worse won't make them solve an impossible situation faster; it will make the situation less stable.
Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks

They don't have any socks to pull up. Iraqis already know they have a problem, but aren't responding to provide security, but fighting against the US.

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US v. Them

One thing jumped out,
as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds

Who is "they"? Recall, this is a US government effort. Mentioning "they" means DoD (if this was written by DoD) look at the "funding" issue is not being related to the US.

Huh? Funds for reconstruction are either from the US, or they are from Iraq. Why is the US looking at the Iraqi government as "they"?

Is DoD looking at the CPA and State Department -- the other possible source of funds -- as "they"?

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DoD appears to look at the US government as being blocks of power, not something that is for or against common goals in Iraq.

give up on trying to get other USG Departments to do it

If the "other" US government departments aren't "with" DoD, does that mean they're "for" AlQueda?

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Weren't the US troops still complaining in 2006 about an equipment shortage?

Where is the US going to get the equipment to do this:
transfer more U.S. equipment to Iraqi Security forces

Catch that: "more equipment," meaning: they've already been transferring equipment; transferring more will make the US equipment shortage problem worse for US troops.

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Dayton only worked because the US won, and was in a position of strength. Talking about "trying" something is a bad sign:
Try a Dayton-like process

The US is in the opposite position as with Dayton: The US is the losing side, and cannot "try" anything. Dayton, the gateway solution for defeated war criminals.

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"attempt to control it"

Hitler said something to the effect, "See if you can't keep the Americans out of my bunker . . ."

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The US is confused about the reality of Iran: It is in a no-lose position.

The US intelligence picture about Iraq is at best confused. The meme sends a clear signal, in the nexus of this confusion, the US is in no position to credibly assert that Iran is or isn't doing anything. The US might as well be relying on Martians to forecast the weather on Jupiter.

The US leadership is talking out of both sides of its mouth. First it claims there are foreign fighters, but can't point to any; then claims it is not happy with the Iranian interference, but claims the Iranian's "can't do anything"; now claims that the US should target Iranians:
Retain high-end SOF capability and necessary support structure to target Al Qaeda, death squads, and Iranians in Iraq

The US asserts, despite accusations that Iran can't do anything to help, that Iran is only able to cause problems. This makes no sense:
Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government.

Then, despite the above, the US makes the following meaningless assertion:
Tell Iran and Syria to stay out.

Notice the implications, and the mixed picture, indicating the US cannot credibly it has a plan to invade Iran, must less provide any governance to resolve the post-invasion plan in Iran.

___ Which is it? The mixed message is important to consider in light of the US claims about the world: The US cannot comprehend a high priority situation in Iraq; there’s little to believe that other situations around the globe are any better understood. Gates will have a field day spewing out propaganda talking about the American miracle as the world scratches its head (again), wondering, “Are these Americans still on drugs?” Yes, they’ve drunk the coolaid for WWII, and still believe in the myth of American power. It’s a sham.

___ How can the US credibly "tell" Iran and Syria to do something that the Iraqis may support: Involvement by Syria and Iran? The US fails to comprehend the Iraqis have chosen leaders who defy the US.

___ What use is it to mention "telling" Iran and Syria to "not do" what the US (supposedly) admits is already happening: Iranian involvement? This is meaningless.

___ Is Iran in a position to influence the results? If so, then it would make sense to work with Iran to stabilize the situation, not actively do the opposite (if they are in there) and target them.

___ How can the US claim that Iran is in "no position" to do anything constructive, yet the memo suggests the US believes that Iran is involved? The US has no consistent policy or clue what is going on.

___ Where's the evidence that Iran is causing a problem? Zip, if there was, Bolton would be calling in Powell to redeem himself before the Security Council.

___ If Iran is "known" to be causing problems, why not parade this evidence to show the world that it's unrelated to the US? No answer on that.


This memo may be pointed to by historians as the first peek into the rapid demise of the American empire and world standing.

The US is in a much weaker position geostrategically than just what may or may not happen in the Middle East. The intelligence community has been gutted, and the US no longer has legal or moral authority to justify confidence. It should be no surprise why the Taliban are making gains: The US cannot feed its own citizens in Brooklyn and could care less what really happens in Kabul.

The memo indicates that the enemies of the US are more focused, competent, and can better organize. The memo admits that the use of force has failed, and this will further support transnational revolutions directed at challenging the post WWII era led by the Security Council and the United States.

Gates isn’t part of the solution, but the window dressing to hide what Bush 41 at CIA and President and others did to contribute to this disaster: Arrogant assertion of American power, despite being outnumbered and unwilling to prevail using American values.

The memo fails to discuss partnerships with Russia or China; and fails to consider the possibility of multi-national solutions to the regional issues. The US, by rejecting earlier proposals to work with Russia and China to transform Africa into a viable export market has squandered resources and power while other nations have filled the power gap.

It will take may years to recover from this disaster, not just in Iraq and the Middle East, but around the globe. This Congress does not comprehend what is at stake and is not in the position to listen, much less preserve what it refuses to have full confidence: The US Constitution. Unless the US leadership in Congress is willing to assert a viable agenda to work with other nations to assert American principles with prudence and example at home, the disaster in Iraq is the only evidence other nations need to conclude the age of American dominance is over.