Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Transcript: Senate Know Nothing Committee

Reading the Transcript of the Senate Foreign Relations testimony of Wolfowitz and Armitage I was struck by one thing: how many times they simply has no answers.

Now, nobody can plan for every contingency, but the strong impression I was left with is that the Administration has given up on planning for anything. They are just winging it and hoping for the best.

That is extraordinary and implies one of two policies by the Administration toward Iraq.

The first is that there is no policy. They really haven't a clue what to do or what to attempt to accomplish. So they are just muddling through daily, hoping that the sovereignty transfer will turn things around and let them regain the initiative. Given that most, even members of the Administration, feel it is likely that there will be intensified violence after June, this 'policy' is not promising.

What might have happened is the Administration came unstuck when its optimistic assumptions failed to materialize. It is now judgmentally paralyzed by the escallating violence and areas of Iraq spinning out of control. This desperatation caused the torture scandal as Administration officials struggled to come to grips with a tribal uprising it didn't expect and failed to understand. Now, of course, the torture scandal adds problems of its own, and the Administration suddenly feels itself in the middle of a mine field; moving any direction except up and out is an equally bad option. So they have decided to defend that mine field against all comers. Typical panic response.

If this is the case, we are completely adrift. In a war with no plan, no leadership, and no way out. The only option for our troops is to dig in and try not to die until we elect some leadership that has hand with the world community and can extricate us from the Bush Administration's strategic incompetence.

The second possibility is that the Administration has a plan, but isn't willing to talk about it on the Hill. Frankly, I think that the Administration belives this is the case, while the former actually describes reality. This Administration has an impressive track record of getting themselves in trouble and doing short-sighted and often illegal or immoral things to try to pull a win out because they simply don't realize that they've already lost. Having lost is not a state of being they recognize; there is always something you can do, no matter how stupid, harmful, and counter-productive to stay in the game. And so long as the games a foot, the score doesn't matter, only the outcome. If they can keep the game rolling until they are ahead, then they've won. It's a perverse and irrational rule book these people play with. It only has one rule: win at any cost.

I can only speculate about what their plans might be, but an educated guess is that they will try to reassert control over enclaves like Falluja and Ramalla before June, even if it means using massive, and heretofore unprecedented force. In fact, the possibility that the loss of collateral lives might prompt another terrorist attack on US soil, seems to have the Bushies salavating. An unnamed source was quoted recently as saying that there certainly will be another terrorist attack before the election, but unlike the Spanish, it would not be allowed to prompt a regime change. How do you like those apples? Pretty confident for such an unknown quantity as voter reaction to a terror attack. Creepily so. I don't know about you, but I am feed the hell up with having a government that I am actually afraid of.

So which do you vote for? Are the Bushies incompetent and paralyzed, or laying low like a snake in the grass awaiting the right time to strike?


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