Insulting Our Troops, and Our IntelligenceThree paragraphs into the article and the "chickenhawk" meme comes out. You'd think the liberals would be tired of repeating themselves. For the record, Bush and Cheney aren't running for office either. Bush served honorably (contrary to what Dan Rather thinks) in the Guard. Cheney got deferments, not unlike many of the time. And, in this country, it is a good thing that we pride ourselves in the civilian control of our military.
by Thomas L. Friedman
Every time you hear George Bush or Dick Cheney lash out against John Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, They must think I'm stupid. Because they surely do.
George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld think youÂre stupid. Yes, they do.
They think they can take a mangled quip about President Bush and Iraq by John Kerry- a man who is not even running for office but who, unlike Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, never ran away from combat service and get you to vote against all Democrats in this election.
Every time you hear Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney lash out against Mr. Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, They must think I'm stupid. Because they surely do.Nobody has had to hype or exaggerate Kerry's gaffe. It stands on its own.
They think that they can get you to overlook all of the Bush team's real and deadly insults to the U.S. military over the past six years by hyping and exaggerating Mr. Kerry as a mangled gibe at the president.
What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to the U.S. military than to send it into combat in Iraq without enough men Â to launch an invasion of a foreign country not by the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, but by the Rumsfeld Doctrine of just enough troops to lose? What could be a bigger insult than that?The "Powell Doctrine" carries with it the idea that your overwhelming force will prevent the Iraqis from bringing on their own forces. What of Powell's Pottery Barn Rule--"You break it, you've bought it"? How would the Murthians settle this score? The "Rumsfeld Doctrine" balances the immediate military needs with not keeping an overbearing force in country. What would the incentive be for the Iraqis to develop their own military if we were there doing everything necessary?
What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than sending them off to war without the proper equipment, so that some soldiers in the field were left to buy their own body armor and to retrofit their own jeeps with scrap metal so that roadside bombs in Iraq would only maim them for life and not kill them? And what could be more injurious and insulting than Don RumsfeldÂs response to criticism that he sent our troops off in haste and unprepared: Hey, you go to war with the army youÂve got Â get over it.Some of the responsibility for not enough proper equipment ought to properly rest with Congress and President Clinton...and with that ordinary Americans of all stripes who have become accustomed to their entitlements. The decision to add armor to HMMVVs did not come easinitiallyy were initally unarmored because without the extra weight,maneuverablere maneuverable. Adding the weight of the armor also adds to suspension problems and the likelihood of rollover accidents. Compare Rumsfeld's quote to...
Once, during the Siege of Boston, when almost nothing was going right and General Schuyler had written from Albany to bemoanWashingtonbles, Washington had replied that he understood but that "we must bear up against them, and make the best of mankind as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish</span>." [emphasis added]1776, David McCullough pg 256.
What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than to send them off to war in Iraq without any coherent postwar plan for political reconstruction there, so that the U.S. military has had to assume not only security responsibilities for all of Iraq but the political rebuilding as well? The Bush team has created a veritable library of military histories from Cobra II to Fiasco to State of Denial all of which contain the same damning conclusion offered by the very soldiers and officers who fought this war: This administration never had a plan for the morning after, and weÂve been making it up and paying the price ever since.
Look. What Friedman and the rest of the liberals don't get is that the enemy has a vote in what happens as much as we do. We are still very much in this war. He wants a plan--a timeline--for every step of the war, and fails to account that the enemy will throw up roadblocks every chance the can. You always make up the "plan for the morning after". Whatever plan you started with is your first casualty.
And what could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in Iraq than to send them off to war and then go out and finance the very people they are fighting against with our gluttonous consumption of oil? Sure, George Bush told us weÂre addicted to oil, but he has not done one single significant thing Â demanded higher mileage standards from Detroit, imposed a gasoline tax or even used the bully pulpit of the White House to drive conservation to end that addiction. So we continue to finance the U.S. military with our tax dollars, while we finance Iran, Syria, Wahhabi mosques and Al Qaeda madrassas with our energy purchases.Changing not just our, but the world's reliance on oil, will take generations. It is not just George Bush's fault. And we have to have a viable alternative energy source in sufficient quantities to replace oil. If it was so easy, someone would have already done it.
Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century Â to bring out the best in us. His genius is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.Note to Tom: Karl Rove hasn't had to do anything here. The Kerry gaffe was caught by a radio station reporter. It was posted to youtube.com, and it took off like wildfire from there. It's just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if Rove read about this on his Blackberry.
And Karl Rove has succeeded at that in the past because he was sure that he could sell just enough Bush cigarettes, even though people knew they caused cancer. Please, please, for our countryÂs health, prove him wrong this time.And just what is the relevance of the connection to cigarettes? Has Bush or Rove spoken at all about Big Tobacco?
Let Karl know that youÂre not stupid. Let him know that you know that the most patriotic thing to do in this election is to vote against an administration that has Â through sheer incompetence Â brought us to a point in Iraq that was not inevitable but is now unwinnable.You know, there is tons of military advice (Also see this for a defense of Rumsfeld) that says that this war is winnable. It is very difficult now, and Bush has been forthcoming on this point from the start.
Let Karl know that you think this is a critical election, because you know as a citizen that if the Bush team can behave with the level of deadly incompetence it has exhibited in Iraq Â and then get away with it by holding on to the House and the Senate Â it means our country has become a banana republic. It means our democracy is in tatters because it is so gerrymandered, so polluted by money, and so divided by professional political hacks that we can no longer hold the ruling party to account.Ah yes. It is self-evident that if the Repubicans don't lose the House and Senate, then our democracy is doomed. "Tattered". "Polluted".
It means we're as stupid as Karl thinks we are.Speak for yourself, Tom.
I, for one, don't think we're that stupid. Next Tuesday we'll see.Yes, we will. I'm betting the R's hold both Houses and the D's go crazy (again).
Edit: Lots of formatting problems coming from the cut-and-paste of Friedman's column. I got most of them, but not all.