Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An unimaginable truth

U.S. Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates arrives for an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 5, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Young

Get used to it. Despite possessing massive destructive capacity, the U.S. does not have the power to rule the whole world. The U.S. has no power to do anything positive in Iraq. "We" (our country despite the opposition of the saner people in our country) have lost this war.

Wishful thinking is not new. It deceived the White House during the Vietnam War with lights at the end of the tunnel. Evan Thomas, in his new book "Sea of Thunder," explains how the Japanese at the end of World War II were incapable of admitting they were losing, and felt it important to maintain morale "even by false reports." The Japanese "never used the word 'defeat.' They spoke of 'tenshin,' changing the course. A 'divine nation' could not be defeated."

The modern equivalent is the unshakable belief in the ability of American military power -- the holy grail of the Bush administration. The last superpower cannot be defeated, so facts must be denied and terminology changed.

H.D.S. Greenway
Boston Globe

Even old spook and cold warrior Robert Gates, Bush's nominee for Secretary of Defense (War) knows this:

Asked point-blank by Sen. Carl Levin D-Mich., whether the U.S. is winning in Iraq, Gates replied, "No, sir."


I wonder if he really means, believes, takes the implications of that admission?

Even among progressives, it defies our imaginations that the U.S. could prove incapable of accomplishing a military task it set itself. But it is true. So much for this 1000 year empire.


RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in the 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 Armements”


The Pentagon is a giant,incredibly complex establishment,budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Adminisitrations 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 Sec. Def. to be - Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particulary if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefor 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 ablsolute 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 unitil it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagon 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.

janinsanfran said...

Interesting stuff, rose covered. I've come to think that the inertia created by the permanent professionals within the government has been the greatest bulwark preventing the authoritarians currently ruling from completely deforming our system of government. So good for them -- except that, as you note, their power in DOD is based in endless expensive procurement of dubious, but profitable, weapons systems.

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