mr. zilla goes to town

Thursday, December 02, 2004

iraq around the clock

It's pretty easy to make the case for Iraq as a military disaster. By now, the only people who won't admit it are the ones who think God personally ordered us to invade. I'm not sure where in the Bible they get that from. After all those years of sweating through Sunday morning Children's Service, I don't remember anything about how some kid from Oregon has to lose his leg to an IED in Ramadi. Maybe He was speaking in tongues at the time.

The question is, how big a disaster is Iraq? Just a stubbed toe for us, or a long fall down the cliff?'s War Nerd takes an irreverent tour of the last four hundred years - with special attention on the last fourteen - to come up with a winner in the 2004 Iraq vs Chechnya Quagmire Bowl.

Meanwhile, some other whackers have suggested that the US government needs to pull its head out of its backside (some imagery unfortunately turning into a repeating theme on this blog at present, for which I apologize) and deal with the declining credibility of the US throughout the world:

"Finally, Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic -- namely, that the war is all about us. As the Muslims see it, everything about the war is -- for Americans -- really no more than an extension of American domestic politics and its great game. This perception is of course necessarily heightened by election-year atmospherics, but nonetheless sustains their impression that when Americans talk to Muslims they are really just talking to themselves."

This isn't your regular pissant punditry but a conclusion of the Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, the product of a Pentagon advisory panel, delivered in September. Ex-Clintonista Sidney Blumenthal writes in Salon today that:

[t]he task force discovered more than a chaotic vacuum, a government sector "in crisis," though it found that, too: "Missing are strong leadership, strategic direction, adequate coordination, sufficient resources, and a culture of measurement and evaluation." Inevitably, as it journeyed deeper into the recesses of the Bush administration's foreign policy, the task force documented the unparalleled failure of its fundamental premises. "America's negative image in world opinion and diminished ability to persuade are consequences of factors other than the failure to implement communications strategies," the report declares. What emerges in this new Pentagon paper is a scathing indictment of an expanding and unmitigated disaster based on stubborn ignorance of the world and failed concepts that bear little relation to empirical reality except insofar as they confirm and incite gathering hatred among Muslims.

The White House is yet to respond to the report. Perhaps with Tom Ridge gone the presidential motorcade is stuck at the traffic lights at 16th and Pennsylvania...


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