Bush's secret plan for Iraq

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by OldCorpse, May 20, 2007.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #1
    Great article. Bush, taking notes from Nixon, intends to keep us bogged down in a losing Iraq, meanwhile saddling Democrats with the responsibility for the defeat ("cut and run"). Just like Nixon did for Vietnam. And presto "we would have won, except the Democrats led us to defeat!".

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/18/AR2007051801803.html

    "Iraq Isn't Like Vietnam -- Except When It Is

    By Robert Dallek
    Sunday, May 20, 2007; Page B03

    These days, it's not terribly original to say that the Iraq war is like the Vietnam War. Many doves use the comparison lazily, invoking Vietnam to urge the United States to pull out. Like most historical analogies, it's a pretty inexact one. (For one thing, Vietnam began as a guerrilla war and ended as a conventional one, while Iraq began as a conventional fight and degenerated into an insurgency.) But having studied President Lyndon B. Johnson's descent into the Vietnam abyss, and having just spent several years poring over Vietnam-era papers and tapes from President Richard M. Nixon and Henry Kissinger, I've found that some of the parallels sound disturbingly familiar today. They're not perfect, but they're instructive -- and give us a disquieting sense of how hard it can be for policymakers to learn from history.

    Like Johnson and Nixon, President Bush is hoping that adding troops will turn a civil war around, is relying on local, U.S.-trained forces to stave off defeat, and is worried that failure will undermine America's international credibility. Bush also disdains antiwar voices and is determined to prove them wrong in the long view of history. But unlike Johnson and Nixon, he doesn't seem to realize that his war is lost. Instead of learning from his predecessors, Bush seems to be replicating their mistakes.

    The parallels may be most stark when it comes to the current troop increase in Iraq. Military escalation was also LBJ's answer to unrelenting attacks by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese in an uncontrollable civil war -- an increase from 16,800 advisers in 1963 to 545,000 combat troops by 1968. But compare that with Bush's increase of about 28,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. If more than half a million troops couldn't succeed in Vietnam, is a total U.S. force of more than 160,000 likely to pacify Iraq? And what can be done when one escalation doesn't do the trick? The more you double down, Johnson and Nixon found, the harder it is to cut your losses.

    We can see another important similarity by considering "Vietnamization," Nixon's 1970s program to arm and train South Vietnam's forces to take care of their country's security. In effect, Nixon hoped that as the South Vietnamese stood up, the United States would stand down. Today Bush is trying something eerily similar with the Iraqi military. But it's proving no more capable than its predecessor in Indochina. During a typically ineffective South Vietnamese offensive against North Vietnamese forces in early 1971, Nixon privately seethed with frustration. "If the South Vietnamese could just win one cheap one," he fumed to his national security aides. "Take a stinking hill. . . . Bring back a prisoner or two." When the South Vietnamese air force failed to attack North Vietnamese trucks because they were "moving targets," Nixon exploded with invective that can't be printed in a family newspaper. One can only imagine how incensed Bush is in private about the performance of Iraq's U.S.-trained units.

    The Bush administration can also be as dismissive of dissenters as were its Vietnam-era predecessors. Johnson sneered that 1960s doves were "nervous Nellies," and Nixon went even further, secretly encouraging public attacks on antiwar activists, whom he considered traitors. Today, Bush and Vice President Cheney blast the news media as defeatist and warn that listening to Iraq naysayers will mean disaster. Meanwhile, Bush offers hopeful assessments of the Iraq war that echo Johnson and Nixon, who also urged Americans to stay the course.

    But unlike Johnson and Nixon, who eventually accepted that victory in Vietnam was probably impossible, Bush can't bring himself -- in public, at least -- to admit that success is out of reach. He and GOP surrogates pilloried Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, for saying recently that "this war is lost." But even LBJ was wiser than that. In 1968, after the Tet Offensive, Johnson finally understood that South Vietnamese ineptitude, Viet Cong strength and American impatience with the grinding conflict meant that the United States simply had to end its involvement and cut a deal at the Paris peace talks. Nixon campaigned in 1968 claiming to have a "secret plan" to end the war, but after entering the White House in 1969, he and Kissinger quickly accepted that a military victory in Vietnam was unattainable. "In Saigon," the new president told his national security adviser that year, "the tendency is to fight the war to victory. But you and I know it won't happen -- it is impossible."

    Such private honesty didn't mean public candor -- let alone withdrawal. While Bush confidants say he insists both on and off camera that the United States can win in Iraq, it's hard to know what he thinks in the dead of night. We do know that despite Nixon's and Kissinger's behind-the-scenes pragmatism, they continued the fighting for four bloody years -- punctuated by their Cambodian "incursion" in the spring of 1970, a U.S.-backed South Vietnamese offensive in Laos in 1971 and the Christmas bombing of North Vietnam in 1972. Throughout, they knew that victory was impossible but hoped that military pressure on Hanoi would force the North Vietnamese into what Nixon called "peace with honor" -- a deal that could end the United States' commitment while preserving its international credibility.

    That leads us to another important similarity. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior officials have warned that defeat in Iraq would have a catastrophic effect on U.S. credibility. Wittingly or not, they are echoing the assumption of LBJ's "best and brightest" and Nixon's national security team that a quick exit from Vietnam would undermine the United States' standing abroad -- turning a superpower, as Nixon put it, into "a pitiful, helpless giant." In fact, withdrawal did no such thing. What truly hurt America's international reputation on Nixon's and Kissinger's watch (Watergate aside) was the continuation of the conflict for four futile years, which encouraged major powers to conclude that the United States couldn't let go of a failed war. In fact, U.S. credibility was enhanced by ending a war that it could not win -- a war that was costing the country vital resources that it could better use elsewhere.

    Such echoes of the past aside, we can see another major difference between Bush and his Vietnam-era forerunners. Johnson and Nixon saw Vietnam as a deterrent to their reelection bids; indeed, LBJ stepped aside in 1968 because he could not bring the conflict to a quick end. Nixon faced a similar problem: Having vowed during the 1968 campaign to bring U.S. troops home, he feared he might lose his reelection bid if the war was still raging in 1972. But Bush's political concerns are far less personal. He wants a Republican successor, but he faces no direct electoral retribution. No matter what happens in Iraq, his presidency will end in January 2009. That frees him up considerably to stay the course -- despite the unease that doing so is creating among the GOP's presidential candidates and among congressional Republicans who fear that Iraq will cost them the chance to win back the Hill.

    As such, Bush is now fighting both in the arena of politics and in the arena of history. Having bet his presidency on Iraq, he seems to be planning to leave the war to the next administration, which he no doubt assumes may be Democratic, and then blame it for whatever additional disarray erupts when the United States withdraws.

    And here, Bush is more like Nixon than he probably appreciates. Although Nixon had privately given up on the Vietnam War early in his first term, he wanted to label Democrats as "the party of surrender." For Bush, the silver lining in Democrats' new control of Congress is the chance it gives him to shift the blame for disaster or defeat. If the war continues to go badly, the White House is increasingly arguing, it is not because of any misjudgments from Bush or Cheney, Rice or Donald H. Rumsfeld; rather, the problem will be those "cut-and-run" congressional opponents who withheld funding from the troops and fatally demoralized the gallant Iraqis.

    Bush's current hope is that history will vindicate him, even if 2008 may not. If he uses LBJ and Nixon as his measuring sticks, however, he will find that history is far more likely to condemn him -- not just for manufacturing reasons to fight an unsuccessful war, and not just for bucking public opinion, but also for failing to think seriously about the past. "Nations and governments have never learned anything from history," Hegel said. Historians like to think that's not true, but there are times when it's hard to believe otherwise."
     
  2. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #2
    Wait a minute, people can't accuse bush of being a dumbass and then all of a sudden accuse him of being a political brainiac.

    It sounds like democrats just preparing their excuse early.
     
  3. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #3
    Huh? What excuse? The war is lost. Why do Democrats need an excuse?

    Of course Bush is a dumbass, that doesn't prevent him from being capable of shifting responsibility, any dumbass can point a finger at the other guy and scream "Timmy did it!". After all, that's a Bush specialty, that guy never admits to any mistakes and doesn't care that it's beyond all credibility (every human being makes mistakes), and the buck never stops with him.
     
  4. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #4
    That's exactly it. All they know if what they don't want. They have no idea what they would do differently though.
     
  5. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #5
    I'd like to be your bookie. No matter how high your team scored more than the other one, you'd be convinced they lost just because the other team scored at all.
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    Are you arguing that the body count is the score?

    If not, what on earth are you arguing?

    And Old Corpse, to be fair, Nixon got us out of Vietnam.
     
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #7
    Are you kidding? Thats the longest excuse I've ever read.

    I doubt if Dallek speaks for the Democratic party, but it sounds like he preparing for the time when a Dem president is in the hotseat in 2009.
    I can just see it now.

    <the future sometime mid-2009>
    Reporter: Sir, you've pulled all the troops out of Iraq and the violence there continues and gas prices have continued to rise and iran is on the brink of going nuclear. What say you?

    Dem prez: Well, uhh, this was all George W's plan. He prolonged the Iraq war so that us dems would have to take the blame for it. We call it the Nixon Gambit.

    Reporter: Well what do you plan to do?

    Dem prez: Ya see, This was all W's plan. He orchestrated this whole debacle so that I would have to decide what to do next. None of this crap is my fault.
    </the future>
     
  8. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #8
    Of course he got us out of Vietnam, but made it seem as if he would have won the Vietnam war "I have a secret plan to win the war in Vietnam", had it not been for those traitorous Democrats. He campaigned on being able to win the war. He KNEW he couldn't - it was a lie. He knew he had to withdraw - how to do it, when he just promised that he'd win, not lose? Simple, say that it was the Democrats who prevented his win and made it into a loss.
     
  9. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #9
    Dem prez: GWB got us into an unwinnable war, just like Vietnam. He didn't have the courage to withdraw. I did it. Remaining in Iraq was not an option. Iraq was stable and not a threat to the U.S. - and then GWB invaded at a great cost of blood and treasure, and unleashed uncontrollable forces. It's like GWB sent our troops into a house and lit it on fire. Were we supposed to keep our troops in a burning house? Of course, we pulled them out. Now you ask why is the house still burning? I guess, GWB should never have lit the fire in the first place. It'll burn until it goes out, we'll do all we can, but we're not sending troops back in to burn to death.
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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    #10
    Just a minor historical footnote: AFAIK, Nixon never used the words "secret plan." He did say that he had a plan to end the war, and he did refuse to tell us what it was, but it wasn't he but his opponents who ridiculed his prevarication as the "secret plan." Six of one, half dozen of the other, but Dallek does imply that Nixon used the term when I believe he never did.

    In any event, the parallels grow creepier every day. The ability to admit mistakes is rare quality, especially among people in power.
     
  11. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Must be the worst kept secret in US politics. I'd assumed that this was Bush' plan and that this was widely recognised.
     
  12. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #12
    Bush is famous for coming up with programs that will become the next administration's headache.

    His Mission Accomplished is the fleecing of the American taxpayer on an unlimited credit card that he will never have to pay for.

    Everything he has ever touched has ended up in failure.

    If it were not for two rigged elections, that would have been a failure too.
     
  13. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #13
    That was just one of those neatly packaged Republican talking points for when they have no argument. Iraq is a disaster, Bush is incompetent, oblivious to reality, surrounding himself with sycophants and the greedy and PNACers who don't actually think things through or even care about the ramifications of their nonplans, and the fallout of their mistakes. Yes, you can be incompetent and greedy and uncaring and still be smart enough to blame everybody else. Doesn't take rocket science, as we can see.

    Meanwhile the Dems are do nothings who are actively ruining America by trying to do what they aren't doing.

    Not get stuck in Iraq with no exit strategy? Focus on the 'stans where the real terrorists are, the ones who actually attacked us and are still a threat? Not pissing away the world wide support we had? Follow the 9/11 Commissions' recommendations to actually make us more safe? Read a report entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack"? Actually pay for equipment and healthcare for our troops instead of just talking about it? Guard the weapons in Iraq instead of the oil fields? Find a way to slowly begin troop withdrawal since we are stuck in Iraq, like partitioning the country, guarding the borders, pushing the Iraq gov to set guidelines, and/or any of the other hundred ideas they've come up with that aren't stay the course or add more troops and increase the violence?

    What if they were losing? By a lot? I don't know about you, but I don't think we're winning this. For every score we make, we seem to lose even more. I, of course, have evidence on my side to back up my opinion. What do you have?

    Do you think we're winning? Do you think we even can win? Are you even going to bother answering this, or just make another snarky comment because you have nothing?
     
  14. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #14
    Republicans win = rigged elections
    Democrats win = The People have spoken! It's a mandate!
     
  15. skunk macrumors G4

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    #15
    It's certainly a possibility, especially for an Administration which has demonstrated its willingness to start a war on a false pretext.
     
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus

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    #16
    So true and funny at the same time! :)
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #17
    As I recall, it was Bush claiming that 51% of the voting public constituted a mandate.
     
  18. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #18
    Nah, Bush actually lost the popular vote in 2000, then had a highly disputed electoral win with a partisan 5:4 split in the SC finally deciding the election, and based on that he ran off and got us into a war based on lies, forgeries misinformation, propaganda to Americans and the world. He ran the most partisan administration in living memory - all based on losing the popular vote in 2000. I don't think Bush feels he needs any "voting public" to do whatever it is that he wants. Heck, if he doesn't like a law passed by congress, he'll just make a signing statement declaring that he'll ignore the law and do as he pleases. And if he violates the constitution, as he's done repeatedly, who will stop him?
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #19
    I was speaking of 2004. I don't recall Bush claiming a mandate after the 2000 debacle.
     
  20. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #20
    Here you are on a computer based forum and with all the information that has come to light about how easily the Diebold machines can be hacked
    and how the tabulation servers can be hacked and you still refuse to accept
    the likelihood that the last two presidential elections were stolen.

    Diebold did not manufacture a voting machine, they delivered an election
    system.
     
  21. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #21
    OK. For the record, I don't think Bush's team stole the election of 2004 - they won by a majority of the vote. That doesn't mean I don't think they didn't suppress votes, cheat and generally commit fraud in that election, but I think they won even without all that - maybe the margin would have been even thinner had they not cheated, but I personally haven't seen proof that it made a difference between winning and losing. Yeah, Diebold is troubling, but I haven't seen 100% proof - so I'd rather not pull out the tin foil here. Just my opinion.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    Huh? I never said a word about Diebold, stolen elections, or voter supression.

    All I said was that after winning (in 2004) Bush claimed he had a mandate to lead. Swarmlord seems to think only Democrats have claimed a mandate, or something. Probably he was just being snarky, but who knows.
     
  23. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #23
    Yeah, I gotta go with mac here. The only one who said anything about a mandate was Bush after '04. With barely over 50% of the votes, not to mention all the people who didn't vote. And yes, in 2006, the people did speak, just as they did in '94 and '04. Why do I have the feeling though if Kerry (who've did suck BTW) had won Ohio but not the popular vote you'd be arguing the other way? Especially if his Brother was gov of Ohio, the election commissioner was a blatant partisan, the company that made the machines was run by George Soros? I'm not saying he stole '04, here I agree with OC, but there was still some fishy stuff. On both sides. Though far more organized on the right side.

    Honestly I don't know why I'm even bothering to point out how wrong you are (again). You're just going to ignore it and post the same partisan hackery again somewhere else. The best I can hope for are more sarcastic remarks that don't back up your argument or dispute mine, and maybe og telling me no one cares what my opinion is. Even though it isn't just my opinion. And at least I can back mine up with facts and logic.

    But hey, let's rag on Dems for something that the neocons are actually doing, then question our patriotism and our support of the troops just for good measure while more of them die needlessly.
     
  24. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #24
    Of course the Diebold system left no proof. That was the whole idea behind
    using machines that did not keep a paper backup.

    The study at Princeton proved that it would take someone less than a minute
    to install the vote flipping code.

    All we can do now is suck it up and prevent it from happening again.
     
  25. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Yeah, on a machine by machine basis with unsupervised access. Oh, and all those machines would have had to be tampered with within a couple hour span of time.

    You guys watch too much TV. Vote flipping code my eye. Maybe it was a virus! That's the plot twist du jour on these shows.
     

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