Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The War President Could Learn From Sun Tzu

GW gave an uninspired, twenty minute, address to the nation tonight. He's pumping in 20,000 more troops into Iraq, as well as a job-creation plan expected to cost $10 billion. He refuses to involve two countries that border Iraq - Syria and Iran. He also failed to state how long these additional troops would be needed. So he's discarded the most important recommendations made by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

He's also ignored the advice of Sun Tzu.

When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.


Anonymous said...

How can a person who has risen to the office of the President of the United States be such an idiot? This "surge" or escalation in troops is not a "new way forward." It's nothing more than a shift in tactics, and one that was tried before....and failed. Yes, you might quell the insurgency in the short run, but when the opportunity presents itself it will become worse than it is now.
So, at a cost of $10 billion of our tax dollars (which obviously bush thinks we don't need to spend on programs at home) and an untold number of lives (both American and Iraqi), President Asshole gets to do nothing more than "stay the course."

Bernie O'Hare said...

dg, Uo until last night, I believes that an infusion of troops, coupled with most of the recommendations made by the ISG, might actually help save lives and salvage a bad situation. But this guy just doesn;t get it. His "plan", if you want to call it that, will just postpone things so he can lay it off on his successor. Last night was the night for Bush to shine and explain things. But it was one of the worst speeches he's given. He's stopped using the bravado, but a speech on amatter this important should not be putting me to sleep.

Doctor Rick said...

He refuses to involve two countries that border Iraq - Syria and Iran.

Bernie, I know your old ('er than me, but I don't think your senile. How are we to MAKE someone take action?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dr. Rick, I may be more senile than you think bc I don't know whether you're talking about these other countries or Bush. The ISG calls for diplomacy w/ Iran and Syria. There's a thought! But if you mean Bush, then I don't know realistically what we can do.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, you really believe that you can deal with Iran and Syria? If that is the case I will send the next rabid dog I see to you for a cure. Bush's error was not laying on the shock and awe in the beginning and failing to send in a greater number of troops. Why not more troops? Because the military had been cut. Remember Boy Bill's claim that he had cut 200,000+ government workers? If my memory serves me correctly the vast majority were from the military. Why do you think we are now looking to add 100 thousand soldiers and marines. A lot of folks I talk to want this job done and be damned the collateral damage. They know we must win or suffer the consequenses and believe me if we cut and run there will be an enormous price to pay. Sun Tsu would tell you that you don't negotiate with running dogs like Iran and Syria. And you might want to check

Anonymous said...

Mr. Miller:
Obviously you don't talk to a lot of people as the majority of Americans want us out of Iraq. This was demonstrated not only by the results of the last election, but by any poll taken during the last 6 months or so.
And the number of troops is not the problem. Our military won the war with the number of troops they had. Our people are now losing their lives because of poor to no planning for an occupation that has now led to a civil war.
Of course, we shouldn't have gone to war in the first place, but I'm sure you'll want to blame that one on Clinton also.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, If you blame all the problems in Iraq on "Boy Bill," then you've lost the ability to think objectively. Even if Clinton let the military go, no one was forcing Bush to attack Iraq when he did. That has to be one of the most ridiculous arguments I've heard.

And yes, I do think we need to engage in diplomacy with Iran and Syria. So does the ISG. We spoke to the "evil empire" all throughout the cold war. And Chris, I've listened to you speak for years about the Islamic menace. I've even read some of the things you've mentioned. But I just don't see it. When you refer to Iran and Syria as "running dogs" and hint at a willingness to accept high collateral damage, I think you've slipped over the edge. These are human beings, too.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:46
You come from a very large family.
Look behind the polls. A lot of peopel are fed up becaues the administration did not go into Iraq and turn it into glass. There is no doubt that the administration failed to take into account that there were going to be larger problems. The folks in that area of the world and in other areas such as Africa and Afghanistan, are loyal to their tribes and tribal leaders. This has been the case for thousands of years and is still the situation today. Now I would suggest that a number of things should have been done. We should not have deserted the Sunnis, generally better educated and wealthier then the Shites, for the Shites. Not all Sunnis were bad guys just like not all Germans were Nazis. We had an unreal expectation of cooperation. But let us not forget who is really driving the sectarian violence here, the leadership in Iran. Keep in mind that the president named Iran as one of the parties in the Axis of Evil and it is the dominant one. You know this if you have been paying attention to the orations coming from their leadership. The president also told you that this would be a long, possibly decades, war. He noted that we have to win it. The American public, with its instant fix culture, have for the moment become disillusined with this war. What do you thing the polls would show if we were hit again? That is why polls are fickled.
You might also recall that the new leadership in the House and Senate, Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi, were just a bit ago, in favor of more troops. I pesonally pondered why we did not send in more because I have always liked the FBI approach, one criminal, send ten thousand agents. That policy has saved a lot of people over the years. Let me remind you that the president could have probably gotten away with the lower numbers had we been able to sent the 4thID through Turkey. Turkey, however, did not allow us to do that. We would have been able to cut off those Sunnis and Baahists who fled north.
I thing you must agree that we have done some amazing things here. Saddam and sons are dead. The folks voted on several occassions and elected their representatives. We are left with three hot spots, TiKrit, Baghdad, and AnBar province( excuse my spelling errors here). The rest of the country is doing well.
As far as Bill Clinto is concerned, how do you justify his not picking up bin Laden? How do you explain the most recent revelation on Sandy Burger who took secret documents out of the archives, buried them at a construction site, and then came back for them? I know, he was just being Sandy. Why didn't we respond to the first attack on the Towers or the USS Cole? I am willing to put all of that aside if honest bipartisianship comes to Washington DC and the war is no longer an issue used by politicians to insure their own election.
Finally let me note that I taught this region for about 15 years. I would also tell you that there is a ton of information on this area of the world in the modern era.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I know you as a very good teacher and a person with strong opinions. Nothing wrong with that. I'm happy that you posted and you even identified yourself.

Your assertion that polls are fickle are right on the mark. And not terribly long ago, Bush was saying "Bring it on" while the rest of us were waving flags.

But guess what? This IS still a representative democracy, or at least it's supposed to be. And November's election sent a very clear message of dissatisfaction with the way the "war on terror" is being handled. Voters didn't elect public officials who endorse the idea of turning Arab nations into a parking lot. They instead elected moderately conservative Dems, for ther most part, who have come to conclude that Bush's justifications for Iraq were, in hindsight, bullshit.

Given the message sent by voters, a rational person would embrace the ISG, a truly bipartisan effort to deal with Iraq. But Bush cannot be thinking logically. He rejected some ideas in favor of a plan supported by a very weak Iraqi prime minister who has just snuffed a few of Saddam's pals.

And while we beef up in Iraq, we are becoming dangerously weak in Afganistan, which borders a rugged mountain range where bin Laden is in hiding. And he's the bastard who unleashed the horrors of 9/11.

Also, North Korea is becoming a larger threat with each day, sensing our weakness.

You suggest that pols not use this war as part of an election campaign. Gee, where were you when Bush and Vheney were telling us to be afraid, be very afraid.

I disagree more or less completely with you but am happy that you posted your thoughts. It's good to discusss these things. No one is completely right or completely wrong.

Anonymous said...

Let me explain a couple of things to you regarding this area of the world. Islam has been in a quandry since the death of Mohammed. The Prophet himself claimed to want the religion to stay in Saudi Arabia but he was no sooner in the ground then the Muslim expansion began. Within a 100 years Islam had a larger empire then that of Rome. Twice they attempted to take over Europe to be turned back by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours then by the Poles at the Battle of Vienna. Why were these folks so militant? There founder was a warrior. He brought Islam to Mecca with an army of converts from Medina.
The region has been great and it has been a backwater ignored area. During the Middle Ages learning went on in this area of the world but once Western Europe rose to its heights during the Renaissance, something that the Islamic region has yet to experinece, it all but fell off the face of the earth. Exploration went the other direction--The New World. Meanwhile the Muslim world was caught up in a dilemma, do we have a unified empire under one religious emperor or do we go with that nation state thing. They obviously opted for the latter while still hoping for the former. I think that the Muslim world has a lot of problems, and like a child they are actually crying out to the United States to help them. The Saudi leadership would love to be rid of the Wahhabists. Iranians want the mullahs and President Tom to be gone. But the Wahhibists have let it be known that should the royal family get out of line, they will be assassinated and certainly President Tom in Iran would have no trouble slaughtering his folks. What you and others have to realize is that this is going to go on for a long time and its reformation will be a tedious process. Bill Clinton could have moved forward by getting bin Laden off the street instead of putting stains on a blue dress. He could have built our military into a dominante force but he showed his lack of courage when he failed to take bin Laden, failed to move on the first attack of the Towers, and failed to move on the Cole. How do you explain all of that? How do your explain the recent revelation on Sandy Burger and his taking of secret documents in the National Archives?
Keep in mind that I lay part of this on Reagan for getting out of Lebanon and on Bush senior for not going to Baghdad in Gulf War I.
As for collateral damage, I will let General Sherman speak " War is Hell" He said it all in three words. And General Patton "We have to kill more of the sonsofbitches".
As to Syria and Iran, they are very bad people. Go look at the Iranian president's comments before the UN on his last visit here. He beleives that his purpose here is to draw the blood needed to get the 13th Caliphite here---what we might call the Messiah. You will never deal with a man like this because not only will he happily and readily behead you and me, he will kill his own who are not the right type of Muslim.
PS: Like Glenn Beck I call the leader of Iran President Tom because I do not have the correct spelling of his name before me.