• Susan Rice: No More Vietnams, But in a Bad Way

    June 28, 2012 // 6 Comments »

    Susan Rice, our ambassador to the UN and someone on the short list to replace Hillary as SecState in 2013, continues to set new personal bests in terms of ignorant statements. Describing (in her acid riddled mind) what makes Obama’s foreign policy distinct from that of its predecessors, Rice mooed:

    We just don’t have that Vietnam hangover. It is not the framework for every decision — or any decision, for that matter. I’m sick and tired of reprising all of the traumas and the battles and the psychoses of the 1960s.


    I could just throw out the old “Those that don’t study history are doomed to repeat it” line here and hit the bar early, but Rice’s remark is so idiotic that I’ll skip happy hour for now (the sacrifices we make for country).

    Tom Ricks starts us off:

    Just because you weren’t alive during the Vietnam War doesn’t mean you won’t go down that road. I generally am a fan of the Obama administration, on both domestic and foreign policy. But the one thing that gives me the creeps is their awkward relationship with senior military officials. Mistrusting the Joint Chiefs, suspecting their motives, treating them as adversaries or outsiders, not examining differences — that was LBJ’s recipe. It didn’t work. He looked upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a political entity to be manipulated or, failing that, sidelined. That’s a recipe for disaster, especially for an administration conspicuously lacking interest in the views of former military officers or even former civilian Pentagon officials.

    Anytime anyone tells me that the lessons of Vietnam are irrelevant, that’s when I begin looking for a hole to hide in.


    Rice again now:

    What frustrated me about the 2004 (John Kerry) campaign was, there we were, relitigating ‘Where were you in nineteen sixty-whatever?’ as the big freaking issue between Bush and Kerry — you know, ‘Did you serve, did you not serve, what did your swift boat brothers think?’  And I’m thinking, ‘What does that have to do with me and the world we’re living in today?’ 


    Ok Susan, you ignorant bonehead, here it is:

    Vietnam echoes through everything we do because we are repeating mistakes. We should not invade countries that do not pose a threat to the US. We should not be in wars without a coherent objective. We should not create governments unsupported by their people and then kill Americans trying to prop them up. We should not spend our money and lives abroad when we have problems at home that need those resources. We should not borrow money to fund wars in ways that wreck our economy. We should not piss off the rest of the world unnecessarily with wars of choice. We should not see America’s power solely as the rampant use of military force. We should express a little more humility toward the world and be seen as a little less of a bully. We should stop inventing straw men (communists, terrorists) that feed the military-industrial complex and distract us from the real issues facing America. We should not ignore the lessons of history because they seem politically awkward in an election year.

    Bonus: We should not employ as ambassadors to the UN people so ignorant of history and so ready to throw away lessons for political positioning. You are, to paraphrase Robert Reich speaking of the Clintons, “the arrogance of power combined with the inexperience of youth.”

    Susan, this blog has spent a lot of time drawing lessons from Vietnam, so have a look before you ejaculate dumbness again.




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    Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Military

    Iraqi Base Bingo

    April 13, 2011 // Comments Off on Iraqi Base Bingo

    Fort ApachePicking up on my post below about which bases the US would want to retain after the “withdrawal” of troops on December 31, Foreign Policy’s Best Defense blog continues the conversation.

    I have to admit in hindsight I should have included a facility in Kurdistan on my list. Southern Iraq is still Indian country, which requires a Fort Apache. The current bases down under are not isolated and thus far enough under the radar and defensible enough to fit our needs. Maybe work out of Kuwait and commute to next spring’s Shia uprisings?

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    Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Military

    Book Review: Fiasco by Tom Ricks

    April 8, 2011 // Comments Off on Book Review: Fiasco by Tom Ricks

    Author Tom Ricks is a kind of patron saint of intelligent writing about the Iraq conflicts, first as a reporter for the Washington Post and now as a blogger and author for Foreign Policy. Ricks is known for his connections within the military, who, knowing he will handle information intelligently and better yet, understand its context, feed him inside baseball-like data on a regular basis. It is this understanding of how things work that informs Ricks’ two books on the war, making them as close to a contemporary history as you are going to get.

    Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq takes you from pre-war planning through the initial mistakes, the early CPA days and up through the full-out civil war in Iraq of 2005 onward. It is factual, unsympathetic and written from the perspective of the military on the ground. That Fiasco has little tolerance for sloppy decision making in Washington and poor leadership on the ground (a younger Odierno is treated particularly harshly by Ricks) is not surprising.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Military