Monday, March 06, 2006

The Marine, The Soldier, The Marine and The 101st Fighting Keyboarder

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace says that everything is going well in Iraq during an interview on Meet The Press.

I’d say they’re going well. I wouldn’t put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they’re going very, very well from everything you look at, whether it be on the political side where they’ve had three elections, they’ve written their own constitution, they’re forming their government. You look at the military side where this time last year there were just a handful of battalions in the field, Iraqi battalions in the field. Now there are over 100 battalions in the field. They had no brigades—that’s about 3,000 men each. Now they’ve got about 31 brigades. No matter where you look at their military, their police, their society, things are much better this year than they were last.
The good general would have a difficult time finding anyone outside the Bush administration or the Bush cargo cult to agree with him, since most of it is pure bull. The truth is, Pace has to say that. He's a serving marine officer and he lives in a culture of loyalty to his superiors. He's also a political appointee and keeping his job depends upon his toeing of the party line. But Pace, more than any CJCS before him, is subject to the Rumsfeld doctrine. Pace may be the uniformed head of the US armed services, but Rumsfeld runs the show, including approving who Pace keeps as subordinates. What General Pace has to say in regards to Iraq is easily ignored.

Appearing on ABC was retired Maj. General William Nash. His expertise is somewhat greater than Peter Pace's when it comes to civil wars and sectarian conflicts.

"We're in a civil war now; it's just that not everybody's joined in," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place, just not necessarily at the maximum level, means that our counter measures are inadequate and therefore dangerous to our long-term interest.

"It's our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq," added Nash.
Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, backed up Nash with this:

"If you talk to U.S. intelligence officers and military people privately, they'd say we've been involved in low level civil war with very slowly increasing intensity since the transfer of power in June 2004."
Appearing on CBS Face The Nation was Congressman Jack Murtha, a former US marine and someone who is very very in touch with the military situation in Iraq. He so much as called General Peter Pace a liar. (via Raw Story)

Why would I believe him? I mean, this administration, including the president, have mischaracterized this war for the last two years. They first of all, they said it will take 40,000 troops to settle this thing right after the invasion. Then they said there's no insurgency, they're dead enders is what the secretary of defense said -- on and on and on this mischaracterization of the war. They said there's nuclear weapons. There were no nuclear weapons there, there's no biological weapons there, no al Qaeda connection. So why would I believe the chairman of the Joint Chiefs when he says things are going well?

I asked my staff -- when they make a statement like this, I said look, look in the latest report that the State Department puts out, the weekly report, and tell me how much progress we've made. So they look at it and we've made no progress at all. Sixty percent unemployment, the Iraqis want us out of there -- 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out of there -- oil production's below prewar level, water production -- only 30 percent of the people getting water.

Now our troops are being fed well and being taken care of. They're doing everything they can do militarily, but they're in a situation where they're caught in a civil war. And there's two participants fighting for survival and fighting for supremacy inside that country and that's my definition of a civil war.
Now, Murtha's a politician and that fact cannot be overlooked, but Murtha has been involved in military affairs from his earliest days in Washington. He was often called upon for advice by then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, even though they represented different political parties. Jack Murtha can talk to the highest levels of the Pentagon and get a straight answer.

Right after all this happened, Hindraker burst upon the scene. (via ThinkProgress). Hindraker's meltdown was quickly deconstructed by Judd and showed that Powerlineblog's attack on Murtha was couched in falsehood. In fact, the statements made by Murtha were completely accurate and had been fact-checked prior to his appearance on Face The Nation. It may have been that Hindraker's outrage was generated by his disbelief that an old marine would dare question the words of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then come right out and call him a liar.

Maybe it's that the Bush hacks just don't get it. The words Jack Murtha spoke may well have been the words General Pace wanted to place before the public.

When Jack Murtha speaks out on the situation in Iraq it's because the military asked him to.

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