(Focus On War – Tonight’s featured essay! – promoted by On The Bus)
I know you’re tired, me too and I’m just about to take a break here soon. Step away from the Redwood though and try to keep your hands to yourself for just a minute. Now get into your Prius and drive your ass on over here for a chat. Pull up a latte and let’s get your Friedmans straight first before we start this adventure into the intellectualization (a defense mechanism where reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress. It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event) of serious people.
This is Kinky Friedman
Not a serious person, just a kinky Friedman and we don’t need to worry too much about his not serious intellectualizations. At least not this election cycle.
This is Milton Friedman
American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual who passed away in November of 2006 and who was much loved by the Reagan administration. He personally loved him some deregulation, privatization, and smaller government so we could all get more money. I don’t know about you but I got some money and my kids got to eat a little lead paint while my husband got to dodge some of that small government privatized Blackwater Security lead in shoot em up Iraq.
This guy is…………..Bawahahahahahahahahaha …. cough … ha ha …… ummm….errrr…. Thomas I wish I was Milton and he had been right Friedman
One look at this picture and you know you are dealing with a very serious person here!
And there is another serious Friedman out there right now that I want you all to focus on. You need to know about him because he is sort of a Republican Obama master of words and thoughts and his Iraq study is already making its rounds and landing on the desks of serious people all over this great land. This is the photo of him that I was able to copy off of a principles of war website.
This is Dr. George Friedman. George Friedman, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert in security and intelligence issues relating to national security, information warfare and computer security. He is founder, chairman and Chief Intelligence Officer of STRATFOR, (Strategic Forecasting Inc.) a private intelligence company that provides customized intelligence services for its clients and provides an internationally acclaimed Web site, www.stratfor.com, that analyzes and forecasts trends in world affairs. Friedman’s column, Intelligence Brief, is syndicated by Tribune Media Services. And just try to swipe an image off of this website you hippies! If you follow the link though he’ll let you look at his serious face there…..but not here.
From George’s website these are his words.
Stratfor’s War: Five Years Later
March 18, 2008 |
By George Friedman
Five years have now passed since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney, in Iraq with Sen. John McCain – the presumptive Republican nominee for president – summarized the five years by saying, “If you reflect back on those five years, it’s been a difficult, challenging, but nonetheless successful endeavor. We’ve come a long way in five years, and it’s been well worth the effort.” Democratic presidential aspirant Sen. Hillary Clinton called the war a failure.
It is the role of political leaders to make such declarations, not ours. Nevertheless, after five years, it is a moment to reflect less on where we are and more on where we are going. As we have argued in the past, the actual distinctions between McCain’s position at one end (reduce forces in Iraq only as conditions permit) and Barack Obama’s position (reduce them over 16 months unless al Qaeda is shown to be in Iraq) are in practice much less distinct than either believes. Rhetoric aside – and this is a political season – there is in fact a general, but hardly universal, belief that goes as follows: The invasion of Iraq probably was a mistake, and certainly its execution was disastrous. But a unilateral and precipitous withdrawal by the United States at this point would not be in anyone’s interest. The debate is over whether the invasion was a mistake in the first place, while the divisions over ongoing policy are much less real than apparent.
He goes on to acknowledge that the reasons the public was given for going to war were a lie but so what, leaders lie and presidents lie and FDR lied and JFK lied. The psychology of the Middle Eastern region…….not so sane so we have to shake em up people. And planning was bad and Rummy is to blame for most all of the bad and things have gone not so good in the past but………
We were taken by surprise by U.S. President George W. Bush’s response to the elections. Rather than beginning a withdrawal, he initiated the surge. While the number of troops committed to Iraq was relatively small, and its military impact minimal, the psychological shock was enormous. The Iranian assumption about the withdrawal of U.S. forces collapsed, forcing Tehran to reconsider its position. An essential part of the surge – not fully visible at the beginning – was that it was more a political plan than a military one. While increased operations took place, the Americans reached out to the Sunni leadership, splitting them off from foreign jihadists and strengthening them against the Shia.
Coupled with increasingly bellicose threats against Iran, this created a sense of increasing concern in Tehran. The Iranians responded by taking Muqtada al-Sadr to Iran and fragmenting his army. This led to a dramatic decline in the civil war between Shia and Sunni and in turn led to the current decline in violence.
I have nothing to say other than………REALLY?
The war – or at least Stratfor’s view of it – thus went through four phases:
Winter 2002-March 2003: The period that began with the run-up to invasion, in which the administration chose the best of a bad set of choices and then became overly optimistic about the war’s outcome.
April 2003-Summer 2003: The period in which the insurgency developed and the administration failed to respond.
Fall 2003-late 2006: The period in which the United States fought a multisided war with insufficient forces and a parallel political process that didn’t match the reality on the ground.
Late 2006 to the present: The period known as the surge, in which military operations and political processes were aligned, leading to a working alliance with the Sunnis and the fragmentation of the Shia. This period included the Iranians restraining their Shiite supporters and the United States removing the threat of war against Iran through the National Intelligence Estimate.
The key moment in the war occurred between May 2003 and July 2003. This consisted of the U.S. failure to recognize that an insurgency in the Sunni community had begun and its delay in developing a rapid and effective response, creating the third phase – namely, the long, grueling period in which combat operations were launched, casualties were incurred and imposed, but the ability to move toward a resolution was completely absent. It is unclear whether a more prompt response by the Bush administration during the second period could have avoided the third period, but the second period certainly was the only point during which the war could have been brought under control.
Okay, everything was sucking. It was sucking pretty God damned bad and then Superman showed up. Thank God because I’m pretty sure that Spiderman is just a fairy tale.
The operation carried out under Gen. David Petraeus, combining military and political processes, has been a surprise, at least to us. Meanwhile, the U.S. rapprochement with the Sunnis that began quietly in Anbar province spiraled into something far more effective than we had imagined. It has been much more successful than we had imagined in part because we did not believe Washington was prepared for such a systematic and complex operation that was primarily political in nature. It is also unclear if the operation will succeed. Its future still depends on the actions of the Iraqi Shia, and these actions in turn depend on Iran.
Northern Iraq has become chaos though now and bad guys go hide out there instead of Western Iraq but whatever man! Soldiers are still being zippered into heavy duty black bags at a very nice flow rate (not too slow but not too fast….just right) but hey, it’s your story George now please finish.
This all came at a price that few of us would have imagined five years ago. Cheney is saying it was worth it. Clinton is saying it was not. Stratfor’s view is that what happened had to happen given the lack of choices. But Rumsfeld’s unwillingness to recognize that a guerrilla war had broken out and provide more and appropriate forces to wage that war did not have to happen. There alone we think history might have changed. Perhaps.
The only thing that George Friedman needs handed to him is the end and he’ll figure out how to put a big Conservative bow on top of it that anybody who is even slightly serious will probably find somewhat palatable. This was hard to do with Vietnam because 2,594,000 soldiers served in that theater and they came home carrying the scars of war and no matter how hard anybody tried to put a big ole bow on top of Vietnam, the soldiers wouldn’t stop sleeping on park benches and hating themselves and trying to kill themselves a thousand different ways. We saw them, lived with them, tried to save them, cried with them and loved with them when they could and we buried them. Iraq will be harder because probably a little more than 600,000 all volunteer soldiers served in that theater. Not so many voices and hey…….they signed up for it. And the mercs, who is going to feel sorry for them if we even have to look at them because most of them aren’t even Americans and they were paid GOOD money for their war services baby. They have nothing to bitch about and now suddenly war and a big bow on top is soooooo much more attainable for CEO chickenhawks and palatable to your average voter. They will be attempting to write this history and we’ll have to fight it. And we will, but Dr. George Friedman is giving us our first heads up as to the bullshit we all will have to address in our futures as truth tellers. I really wish the Democratic party and blogs and bloggers would stop fighting over stupid stuff because the Conservatives are preparing to write history while we bicker amongst ourselves as usual! If you visit Statfor’s website and read all of George’s words on this he invites you at the end to “tell George what you think” and please be my guest 😉