Sunday, January 29, 2006

Home Again

Today was my first full day at home after the Carolina road trip.

On Press the Meat this morning, Bill Frist said Mr. Bush didn't need the FISA bill to spy on Americans. He's authorized to do it under the Constitution and the AUMF. I wonder if that's the official White House line now or if Frist fell off the playbook, and isn't going to have to go to for a session in the woodshed with Karl and 'Berto.

Frist also said that administration and NSA lawyers said the domestic surveillance was okay.

But your honor, my lawyer gave me permission to rob that liquor store!


While I was away...

According to Robert Burns, one of my favorite military writers, a recent study says that the Army has reached the breaking point.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.


He wrote that the Army is "in a race against time" to adjust to the demands of war "or risk `breaking' the force in the form of a catastrophic decline" in recruitment and re-enlistment.

Of course, Donald Rumsfeld isn't buying any of this Henny Penny talk.

Rumsfeld has argued that the experience of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has made the Army stronger, not weaker.

"The Army is probably as strong and capable as it ever has been in the history of this country," he said in an appearance at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington on Dec. 5. "They are more experienced, more capable, better equipped than ever before."

This is the same Donald Rumsfeld who said we sent enough troops to Iraq in the beginning and denied there was an insurgency going on in that country until about ten months into it.  

Krepinevich is a military scholar and analyst whose views I often disagree with, but on the assessment of the state of the U.S. Army, I'm a sight more inclined to agree with him than I am to agree with Rummy.

One school of thought says that Rummy isn't worried about the Army falling apart because that's precisely what he wants it to do.  One of his explicit objectives from the outset of his tenure as Bush's SecDef was to transform the service into a lighter, faster force over the objections of many senior Army generals.  He got rid of those generals, and now he's grinding the Army down to parade rest.  He may figure that it's easier to build a new Army from scratch than to try to change the old one.  Of course, building a new Army from the ground up will require a big increase in defense spending, but that too was one of Rumsfeld's prime objectives as a member of the Project for a New American Century in the 90s.  

So whether he's done all this on purpose or not, things are working out the way he wanted them to.  


And I see that Hamas was the big winner in the Palestinian elections.  Boy, there's a surprise.  We covered this ground last September in an ePluribus article called "Wars and Empires."

The "democratic domino effect" [of the Iraq war] on the rest of the Middle East has transformed terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas into legitimate, popularly elected political parties.

Robert Kagan, the prominent neoconservative, said in an NPR interview that political victories for terrorist organizations could turn out to be a good thing, that they'll have to change themselves in order to govern.  I kind of hope Kagan is right, but I'm not real confident about any of his ideas and opinions.  Bob Kagan, you may recall, was one of the head cheerleaders of the Iraq invasion, and we all know how that turned out.  

Kagan is one of the most influential foreign policy thinkers in America today, which should give you an idea of just how horribly screwed up our foreign policy is.  In terms of international relations, we'd be far better off to do nothing than to listen to the likes of Robert Kagan.


  1. Peter vE4:02 PM

    Robert Kagan, the prominent neoconservative, said in an NPR interview that political victories for terrorist organizations could turn out to be a good thing, that they'll have to change themselves in order to govern.

    Not a perfect analogy, but the extremists in Iran seem to have moderated quite a bit in governing for the past 25 years, haven't they....

  2. Exactly, Peter, if I understand your drift correctly.