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View Full Version : General: "We cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own."


Taco John
04-28-2007, 09:50 PM
This is a powerful argument from a former director of the NSA...


Former Lt. General declares Bush 'seems to have gone AWOL'
Published: Saturday April 28, 2007


"Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.

"I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.

"In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.

"Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

"To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is 'absent without leave.' He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

"Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however, are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

"Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President's management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

"The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests.

"But it has served Iran's interest by revenging Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran's influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda's interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible.

"We cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did.

"A wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy, not just marginally, but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed.

"No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the paralysis that now confronts us. Withdrawal is the pre-condition for winning support from countries in Europe that have stood aside and other major powers including India, China, Japan, Russia.

"It will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other countries on Iraq's borders, making them far more likely to take seriously new U.S. approaches, not just to Iraq, but to restoring regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has caused.

"The bill that Congress approved this week, with bipartisan support, setting schedules for withdrawal, provides the President an opportunity to begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure of victory, not some impossible outcome.

"I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the bill the Congress has sent him. I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage, and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.

"This is retired General Odom. Thank you for listening."

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Former_general_declares_Bush_has_gone_0428.html

Nightwish
04-28-2007, 10:13 PM
B-b-b-b-b-b-but, he's retired, so his opinion doesn't count!

Nightwish
04-28-2007, 10:14 PM
He's just a disgruntled former officer! He probably got canned from the NSA for non-performance!

Nightwish
04-28-2007, 10:15 PM
How is my "neocon homer" impression coming along?

Adept Havelock
04-29-2007, 10:41 AM
How is my "neocon homer" impression coming along?


Not bad, but you forgot to use the words "Terrorist Sympathizer", "Surrenderist", "Lacking Moral Clarity", and "Islamunisticreallyscarysuperdupercryptononcorporatistfacism".

Mr. Laz
04-29-2007, 10:45 AM
he never was a REAL republican

the General has an Ax to grind

The general is just trying to get attention

banyon
04-29-2007, 11:11 AM
Not bad, but you forgot to use the words "Terrorist Sympathizer", "Surrenderist", "Lacking Moral Clarity", and "Islamunisticreallyscarysuperdupercryptononcorporatistfacism".

and "libr'l joo-run mediya prolly just made it up. He's probly not even a real general."

go bo
04-29-2007, 04:13 PM
the general wants to sell his book that he's going to write...

the general is really old (he's retired)...

the general only has 3 stars...

the other generals/admirals who have retired and then gone on to offer criticisms/analysis similar to this one don't know what they are talking about any more than this moron...

he's only got 3 stars btw...

go bo
04-29-2007, 04:15 PM
did i mention that this guy only has 3 stars?

Logical
04-29-2007, 08:58 PM
I notice a complete lack of attention from the neo-con sympathizers in this thread.:hmmm:

Mr. Laz
04-29-2007, 09:08 PM
I notice a complete lack of attention from the neo-con sympathizers in this thread.:hmmm:
i think they are running out of reasons why their own people have started disagreeing with them.


they have used about all of them already

Mr. Kotter
04-29-2007, 09:20 PM
I notice a complete lack of attention from the neo-con sympathizers in this thread.:hmmm:

He's entitled to his opinion. And, generally, he's right. However, Congress needs to step to the plate and over-ride the President's veto. Pretty simple really. We'll see if they do.

:shrug:

kramhca_

Taco John
04-29-2007, 10:07 PM
What of this statement:

"We cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own."


I'd be interested in the rebuttal of his claim here.

patteeu
04-30-2007, 09:05 AM
What's new here? General Odom has been against the Iraq war from the beginning. What's next, an article about how General Shinseki thinks we need more troops?

patteeu
04-30-2007, 09:08 AM
What of this statement:

"We cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own."


I'd be interested in the rebuttal of his claim here.

The obvious rebuttal is a rejection of the premise. If his premise is incorrect and the war does serve our interests but does not serve those of our enemies, it kind of destroys his conclusion doesn't it?

Nightwish
04-30-2007, 09:19 AM
The obvious rebuttal is a rejection of the premise. If his premise is incorrect and the war does serve our interests but does not serve those of our enemies, it kind of destroys his conclusion doesn't it?
A "rejection" of his premise isn't worth much if your best rationale is "I don't believe him." Can you disprove his premise? What US interests are being served by the war? What interests of our enemies are being served? Which interests are being served more, and how do you quantify that conclusion?

Taco John
04-30-2007, 09:46 AM
Haha! "A rejection of the premise."

I reject the premise that George Bush is a competent leader. Of course, I can legitimately reject that premise without saying anything further due to the phenomenon common knowledge.

On what basis are you rejecting the premise without explaination?

Bowser
04-30-2007, 09:58 AM
A "rejection" of his premise isn't worth much if your best rationale is "I don't believe him." Can you disprove his premise? What US interests are being served by the war? What interests of our enemies are being served? Which interests are being served more, and how do you quantify that conclusion?

Just curious, but how much has Halliburton made in the years it's been in Iraq?

An honest question here. So f*ck off all of you who want to run in and drop the :rolleyes: to the question.

Nightwish
04-30-2007, 10:39 AM
Just curious, but how much has Halliburton made in the years it's been in Iraq?I can see how someone could consider war profiteering to be serving "American interests," but somehow I don't think patteeu and his fellow neocon sympathizers are going to be willing to offer that as their evidentiary support, since it undermines the humanitarian aspects that they pretend to believe are the real justifications for the war.

patteeu
04-30-2007, 11:02 AM
Haha! "A rejection of the premise."

I reject the premise that George Bush is a competent leader. Of course, I can legitimately reject that premise without saying anything further due to the phenomenon common knowledge.

On what basis are you rejecting the premise without explaination?

Speaking in a general sense here, no matter what basis one uses for rejecting his premise, that's the way that you undermine what you apparently took as an iron-clad argument. If you accept his premise then his conclusion is hard to avoid. The argument lies in his premise.

Getting down to the specifics, if the US were to achieve the original goal of establishing a pro-Western, freedom-based Arab democracy in the heart of the Middle East that can act as an ally in the GWoT, it's impossible to argue that that would serve our enemies interests more than ours, IMO.

Even if the full goal isn't realized, there is some tolerance for a less than optimal outcome that would still favor our interests over those of our enemies. For example, lets say that the final result is a pro-Western Arab dictatorship, who is an ally in the GWoT and who lets us maintain military bases in the region for checking Iranian power and for counter-terrorism operations. That less-than-optimal outcome would still favor us more than our enemies.

If the final result is chaos or an Iranian client state or an al Qaeda dominated fundamentalist state, that outcome would favor our enemies. Of course, those outcomes are a lot more likely if we pull out than if we stay.

What most anti-war folks seem to do is they look at the current state and assume that that's as good as it's going to get. That's bad analysis IMO, but if you take such a short view I can see how it would seem obvious that we've helped our enemies and hurt ourselves. If you take a longer view then the results aren't so obvious.

Logical
04-30-2007, 11:08 AM
The obvious rebuttal is a rejection of the premise. If his premise is incorrect and the war does serve our interests but does not serve those of our enemies, it kind of destroys his conclusion doesn't it?

If it serves our interests, why can no one make an argument explaining what those interests being served are for the US?

Nightwish
04-30-2007, 11:12 AM
What most anti-war folks seem to do is they look at the current state and assume that that's as good as it's going to get.Correction: we look at the current state, compare it with the history of the region, our track record with nation building, our track record thus far in Iraq, and the displayed inetitude of the administration, and understand that our continued presence in Iraq is not going to make things better. Contrast that with your outlook, which is not based on logic, not based on history, not based on any measure of reasoned consideration, but based solely on a need to believe in a pipe dream.

patteeu
04-30-2007, 11:22 AM
If it serves our interests, why can no one make an argument explaining what those interests being served are for the US?

They do. You just don't see them as being realistic. You are focused on the chaos of the here and now and don't see any optimistic future if we continue to work and fight with the fledgling Iraqi government. Those who see positives for the US are betting on the future.

The flip side is that those who see withdrawal as the better of the two options are willing to settle for the better of some pretty bad options.

patteeu
04-30-2007, 11:23 AM
Correction: we look at the current state, compare it with the history of the region, our track record with nation building, our track record thus far in Iraq, and the displayed inetitude of the administration, and understand that our continued presence in Iraq is not going to make things better. Contrast that with your outlook, which is not based on logic, not based on history, not based on any measure of reasoned consideration, but based solely on a need to believe in a pipe dream.

I'm sure that's how you see it. I think I've made it pretty clear how much I respect your analytical capabilities.

Nightwish
04-30-2007, 11:26 AM
They do. You just don't see them as being realistic. You are focused on the chaos of the here and now and don't see any optimistic future if we continue to work and fight with the fledgling Iraqi government. Those who see positives for the US are betting on the future.

The flip side is that those who see withdrawal as the better of the two options are willing to settle for the better of some pretty bad options.
Unfortunately, your "have patience, good will win out" song-and-dance has lost most of its luster, leaving us with no illusions to blind us to the reality that the only real options left are bad ones. Some day you're going to have to accept that. No team has ever won every game. No nation has ever won every war. Someday your delusion will have to fall away, else you're going to end up in an asylum.

Nightwish
04-30-2007, 11:28 AM
I'm sure that's how you see it. I think I've made it pretty clear how much I respect your analytical capabilities.
Consider your analytical capabilities are practically non-existent, knowing your penchant for tossing Occam out the door in favor of whoever is whispering the rosiest words in your ear, then your "respect" for my interpretation is less than meaningful.

Taco John
04-30-2007, 10:27 PM
What most anti-war folks seem to do is they look at the current state and assume that that's as good as it's going to get. That's bad analysis IMO, but if you take such a short view I can see how it would seem obvious that we've helped our enemies and hurt ourselves. If you take a longer view then the results aren't so obvious.


What most pro-bush folks seem to do is ignore the scope of the challenge and assume that it has to get better eventually if we throw enough money and enough bodies at the problem. Unfortunately, no matter how many dead troops and severed appendages we throw at this, it's not going to matter until a revolution happens in the hearts and mins of the Iraqis.

patteeu
05-01-2007, 08:40 AM
What most pro-bush folks seem to do is ignore the scope of the challenge and assume that it has to get better eventually if we throw enough money and enough bodies at the problem. Unfortunately, no matter how many dead troops and severed appendages we throw at this, it's not going to matter until a revolution happens in the hearts and mins of the Iraqis.

I'm having trouble following you these days, Taco. Are you saying that we can achieve our objectives if we throw 150,000+ more troops at the problem (along with the increased number of dead bodies and severed appendages that go hand-in-hand with that concept) or are you saying that our objectives are unachievable at any troop level and that retreat is all we have left? You seem to be all over the board (except, of course, that you carefully avoid appearing to agree in any possible way with anything that GWBush says).

Nightwish
05-01-2007, 10:53 AM
I'm having trouble following you these days, Taco. Are you saying that we can achieve our objectives if we throw 150,000+ more troops at the problem (along with the increased number of dead bodies and severed appendages that go hand-in-hand with that concept) or are you saying that our objectives are unachievable at any troop level and that retreat is all we have left? You seem to be all over the board (except, of course, that you carefully avoid appearing to agree in any possible way with anything that GWBush says).Are you going out of your way to be obtuse these days?

I think what he's saying is pretty clear, and you have to be really working at it to not understand. You don't seem to think that the American body count matters, as long as the objective is eventually realized. Hey, there won't be a next generation of Americans, because we sent everyone of age to their deaths, but by gosh and by golly, we stabilized Iraq!

The only way Iraq is going to be stabilized is if the Iraqis do it themselves. Our blood, our bodies, the sacrifices of our soldiers aren't doing a damned thing to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, it's not doing a damned thing to encourage stability in that region, and it isn't doing a damned thing to steer Iraq toward a US-friendly, pro-western state, which is what you say has been the objective all along.

What TJ is saying, and everyone but you almost certainly understands, is that it doesn't matter if we send in 150,000 or 150,000,000 more troops, the only way we are going to stabilize Iraq is to eradicate the Iraqis and all their neighbors and annex the entire region, or turn it all into a glasstop parking lot.

patteeu
05-01-2007, 02:17 PM
I don't mind if you express your opinion, Nightwish, but forgive me if I don't trust you to interpret Taco John's positions for me (or anyone else's for that matter), as I'm well aware of your severe disability in that regard.

You may or may not be aware of the poll TJ started just a few days ago in which he seemed to imply that there might be a resource level at which we could "win the peace" and the poll options indicated that he might think 150,000+ more troops was a key figure in that calculation.

As for your apparent belief that we are losing an entire generation of Americans in Iraq, I'd point out that the approx 3300 dead so far represent about .0011% of our population. I'd say you are exaggerating hysterically. By contrast, those who died in Vietnam represented about .029% of our 1970 population. That's a fraction that is 26 times higher and it's still a very small fraction. Yeah, yeah, yeah, every life is sacred, but let's get a grip. And btw, I will not continue to discuss this particular point with you. I've said everything I have to say about it.

go bo
05-01-2007, 02:48 PM
bush is da debbil...

Nightwish
05-01-2007, 03:08 PM
I don't mind if you express your opinion, Nightwish, but forgive me if I don't trust you to interpret Taco John's positions for me (or anyone else's for that matter), as I'm well aware of your severe disability in that regard.As I said the other day, coming from someone who displays no ability at all in that regard, your trust in my ability is less than meaningful.You may or may not be aware of the poll TJ started just a few days ago in which he seemed to imply that there might be a resource level at which we could "win the peace" and the poll options indicated that he might think 150,000+ more troops was a key figure in that calculation.I'm sure you are well aware that the 150,000+ notation was intended to portray an unrealistic and unacceptable sacrifice, and the fact that he included it as the high end of his poll (take care to note the "+") does not imply that he believes 150,000 troops will do it, or that it can even be done militarily. As for your apparent belief that we are losing an entire generation of Americans in Iraq, I'd point out that the approx 3300 dead so far represent about .0011% of our population. I'd say you are exaggerating hysterically.I'm not saying that we're losing an entire generation of Americans. I'm pointing out that, by your pattern of continued disregard for the payout in American blood that is being made, if it were to come to such a drastic end, you would still not draw the line there. To you, the end justifies the means, no matter how costly the means. Stalin would have loved you. American families, not so much.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, every life is sacred, but let's get a grip.I'm not trying to pull the old "every life is sacred, so war should not be fought at any cost" ploy. I don't believe that. But I, unlike you, believe there is a line. If the sacrifice is greater than the realistically foreseeable payoff, as it is in Iraq, then the line has been crossed. We're seeing a lot of blind nationalism from the right, victory has absolutely got to be had, we cannot afford to lose or fail in Iraq, or our country will crumble! As I've said before, every team loses once in awhile. It may not be politically correct to say that we might have to accept the fact that Iraq is a failure, but it is realistic. We have a word in America for this kind of blind nationalism the neocon right displays - stupidity.
And btw, I will not continue to discuss this particular point with you. I've said everything I have to say about it.If you feel the need to run away, that's on you.

BucEyedPea
05-01-2007, 03:18 PM
We're seeing a lot of blind nationalism from the right,
I'd rather call it jingoism. :)

Jingoism is chauvinistic patriotism, usually associated with a War Hawk political stance. In practice, it refers to sections of the general public who advocate bullying other countries or using whatever means necessary (usually military force) to safeguard a country's national interests.--wiki

StcChief
05-01-2007, 03:30 PM
Jingoism.... but based on the polls NO one thinks we should be there so how is that the majority view?

I don't see the bullying. Iraq issue really about freeing them and now they seem to not want to fight for freedom. But would rather allow local tribal factions bully them. Threaten them, their families etc.

BucEyedPea
05-01-2007, 03:46 PM
Jingoism.... but based on the polls NO one thinks we should be there so how is that the majority view?
That's in reference to those who are still making the case for remaining no holds barred for "our" national interests.

I don't see the bullying.
Not now, but in regard to the general feeling that we have a right to just go in and fix places for our "national interests." We may not have colonies but we have bases, all over the world ( over 140 places) and put in govts that will serve our interests in the ME. Not a good move imo with their sentiments toward that type of thing.
Through their eyes it is bullying.

Iraq issue really about freeing them and now they seem to not want to fight for freedom. But would rather allow local tribal factions bully them. Threaten them, their families etc.
I thought it was about WMD? And that freeing them was a secondary consideration. Really, I feel it's just a rhetorical ruse because of the permanent bases being built there, a very large embassy in order to control the rest of the region with those bases....like a permanent influence.