January 12, 2007

Escalate This

John McCain has been pushing for more troops in Iraq for a long time. This week President Bush annouced that he would be sending 20,000 more troops to aid the 150,000 or so that we have there right now.

This speech was meant with a strict response, oh no. The list of the Republicans who have spoken out:

Senator Chuck Hagel Calls the President's Speech the Most Dangerous Foreign Policy Blunder since Vietnam. "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam -- if it's carried out. I will resist it." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Senator Norm Coleman Opposes President Bush's Escalation Plan. "And to put the lives of Americans soldiers -- more, in the center of that, without first having something that's substantial, something we can point to, other than this sense of trust, other than looking someone in the eye, having a conversation. I'm not prepared, at this time, to support that. It's -- the cost is too great." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Senator John Sununu Expressed His Concerns about President Bush's Escalation Plan. "There were some areas where I have a little bit more concern, such as whether or not the use of the troops discussed will really be appropriate in dealing with sectarian violence in Baghdad..." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Senator George Voinovich Is Skeptical of the Plan for Escalation. "I think you should know that I am skeptical that a surge of troops will bring an end to the escalation of violence and the insurgency in Iraq. Many of the generals that have served there have said they don't believe additional troops will be helpful in Baghdad particularly. And, Madam Secretary, my faith in Prime Minister Maliki's ability to make the hard choices necessary to bring about political solutions has to be restored. What we need is a political solution between the Sunnis and the Shiite." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Senator Lisa Murkowski Not Convinced by the President's Plan. "I would agree with Senator Hagel that, given the American lives that have been lost in Iraq, we want to make sure that we have a policy that is worthy of their sacrifices. And those are his words. And I think they're very well spoken. But I'm not convinced, as I look to the plan that the president presented yesterday, that what we're seeing is that much different than what we have been doing in the past." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Senator Vitter Is Concerned the President's Plan is Too Little Too Late. "And so that does lead to a concern of mine that we may commit the same mistake I think we clearly have in the past, which is too little, maybe too late." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Senator Susan Collins Says an Increase in Troop Levels Is a Mistake. "Based on the trip I took to Iraq last month, I concluded it would be a mistake to increase the overall level of troops in Iraq." [Chicago Tribune, 1/11/07]

Sen. Gordon Smith Opposes the Escalation. "We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo. Iraqis must be the ones to settle their own peace." [AP, 1/10/07]

Senator Olympia Snowe Is Skeptical That an Escalation Will Address the Problem. "I have deep scepticism about it, about a surge addressing the root causes of the mistrust and hatred that sects have for each other. That's what I expressed. The fact of the matter is that the American people don't support this war and the way it has evolved because they see the Iraqis fighting among themselves instead of for themselves." [Irish Times, 1/10/07]

Sen. Sam Brownback - from Baghdad -- Says Escalation Is Not the Answer. "I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer. Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution." [AP, 1/10/07]

Do not be shocked that most of the people on this list will be having a tough reelection campaign in 2008. And now back to the topic at hand.

As I was listening to the speech a song kept playing in the back of my head. The song was "Beauty of Gray" by Live. I thought the refrain was very fitting.

This is not a black and white world
To be alive
I say that the colors must swirl
And I believe
That maybe today
We will all get to appreciate

Really there is nothing good about escalating the war in Iraq. If the President had understood that life is not just black and white but is in fact gray, we wouldn't be having this problem. You can't force democracy, stability and freedom on everyone. Cultures are different, people are diverse and will not always do what other people want. Escalation will not stop this war. No one but the administration says so. This war has been a waste, this effort will be a waste. It is time for the soldiers to come home.


RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”


The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

Doughnutman said...

any way of knowing when it will hit the wall?

RoseCovered Glasses said...


It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president totally understands it. He does not have the clearances to study it before he arrives and he is overwhelmed when he takes office by the detail and the enormity of the information.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Defense Industrial Security Manual, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is extraordinary in tems of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in our Defense Industry Corporate America, which has udergone extraordinatry consolidation in the last 10 years. What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

Congressional oversight committees are carefully stroked.

Congressmen like Samm Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles were cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it was too late to do anything but what the establshment wanted. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in hour browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the MIC, but in government quarters. His job was similar role to mine in corporate America. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling testimony and was made just before he walked away from the Pentagon in disgust. It is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. All I can think of was that he was extremely highly respected.


The brick wall I refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.