Tuesday, September 26, 2006

He Said... He Said...

"And I will make decisions based upon -- the level of troops based upon the recommendations by the commanders on the ground. If they tell me we need more troops, we'll provide more troops. If they tell me we've got sufficient level of troops, that will be the level of troops."
George W. Bush, November 29, 2005

"Many of us routinely asked for more troops. There simply aren't enough troops there to accomplish the task."
Retired Major General John R.S. Batiste, September 26, 2006
Former Commander of the 1st Infantry Division of the US Army in Iraq

24 comments:

Mind Spewer said...

Marc, are you implying that the President isn't telling the truth?

Marc said...

I report... You decide.

BA said...

I needed my daily dish of Bohn bashing Bush (that was some fancy illiteration?)

Marc said...

I don't know what you're talking about... nothing but "Fair & Balanced" here.

Anonymous said...

Clinton would have given him more troops!

Marc said...

Your sarcasm is more accurate than you might have thought... in a similar situation Clinton probably would have ceded to a General's assesment. He was pretty non-ideological on foreign policy and defense issues. He even nominated a Republican Secretary of Defense.

Anonymous said...

Wow, did you get your facts straight from a YouTube clip of his recent interview?

Marc said...

Nope. I was well aware that he nominated William Cohen long before that clip. I even had the opportunity to hear former Secretary Cohen speak this Spring.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling in 10 years, you will be quoting Bush like you quote Clinton now, and that you will have re-created your opinions and memories of how great a president he was....

Time tends to bend the mind, and romanticize those from the past.....

Marc said...

I'm not sure that your theory is as good a fit as you think it is. I voted for Clinton in 1996, while I have never voted for Bush. I generally supported Clinton then, and haven't changed that position.

That said, I object to the insinuation that I romanticize the Clinton years. I have never argued that Clinton didn't make mistakes. He made a lot of them, some very serious. Overall though, Clinton supported more centrist domestic policies that I generally tended to support. Abroad, his foreign policy was much more multi-lateral and diplomacy based. Some may critique those methods as ineffective, but the quagmire that is Iraq makes it clear that blunt force is no more effective.

Treidi said...

I like the word quagmire. It's funny. when I hear it I think of a swampy place with weird looking birds.

Anonymous said...

Bush is very good at doing the wrong thing. Clinton on the other hand was just as good at doing absolutly nothing, i.e. Mogadishu, Kosavo, Kenya, Tanzania, USS Cole, Darfur, WTC Bombing. I have not yet decided if I'd rather be known as a big dumb super power or an impotent and weak one.

Marc said...

Treidi - It certainly has a way of rolling off the tongue.

Huck Finn - Not sure I follow you here. While one of Clinton's biggest blunders was certainly doing nothing in Rwanda (an example you fail to cite), many of the other events you mention simply can't be construed as examples of Clinton "doing nothing":

Mogadishu - The US was on a humanitarian mission there and was pressured intensely by conservatives to pull all of our US troops out right after the Black Hawk down incident. Instead he kept troops in there for 6 more months until UN troops rotated in.

WTC Bombing - The Justice department tracked down and prosecuted all of the key players in the bombing. They are all in prison now.

Darfur - The current crisis in Darfur didn't come to a head until President Bush came into power.

USS Cole - Again, this one is a strike against President Bush because the CIA did not determine that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were responsible for this until Bush was in power.

Kosovo - What? Here Clinton had NATO undertake an extended bombing campaign led by General Wesley Clark that stopped the genocide of the ethnic Albanians and led to defeat of Slobodan Milošević and the Serbs.

Anonymous said...

I was not trying to defame Mr Clinton However I do have a little different perspective on things:

Kosovo: Because of strict rules of engagement violence continues right under the noses of the UN troops. Because of continuing violence over 200,000 serbs have fled Kosovo since Peace keeping troops arived in the area. Just cause the media does not talk about it doesn't mean its fixed.

WTC Bombing, USS Cole, Kenya, Tanzania, 9/11: If you believe that there could be some link between these terrorist attacks then you have to admit we could have and should have done more then put the blind sheik, ramsey yusef and a couple low level alqaida guys in prison.

Mogadishu: Clinton Pulled out because after seeing american soldiers drug through the streets the american public lost its taste for the region, no matter who you blame for the continuing problems in the area the episode ads to our impotent superpower personality.

Darfur: You got me there but that craps been going on in the Sudan since the early 90's.

My main point was that the arab perception of the U.S. has changed: from being weak stomached capitalists to bullying agressors. Which of the two is better? Only time will tell.

Mrs. McDreamy said...

I have nothing to add, but it is nice to see Marc argue with Huck instead of BA. Nice change of pace boys.

Marc said...

Huck -

I don't want to seem like a Clinton apologist, because he certainly wasn't perfect and made plenty of mistakes, but I still think you are being unfair to his foreign policy accomplishments:

Kosovo: What would be a successful outcome to this? A US led NATO stopped the ethnic cleansing and brought war criminals to justice. There are tensions in the region that have existed for centuries, what more could Clinton have done? It seems that your beefs are more with the UN and its mandate. I don't think that is fair to hang around Clinton's neck.

You simply can't conflate the WTC Bombing, USS Cole, Kenya, and Tanzania.

WTC Bombing: No one knew of Al Qaeda in the early nineties. We brought those who were directly responsible for the attacks to justice and have since tied the incident to these later acts of terrorism.

Kenya and Tanzania: This is probably your most credible example. Many have argued that the bombing campaign Clinton ordered in the wake of the Embassy bombings was an insufficient response. They may well be right, but it is important to note that the US certainly didn't have the mandate for action that it did after 9/11. Richard Clarke has also said that after those events Clinton became very focused on pursuing Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.

Mogadishu: Outside of arguing that we shouldn't have been there in the first place, I still am at a loss as to what you would have had Clinton do in this situation. I'm not sure that unilateral action outside the mandate of the UN would have been wise at the time.

Sudan: There has been a civil war raging in the Sudan since the early 80's. That is a separate issue than what is going on in Darfur now. Are you suggesting that the US should involve itself in every Civil War that happens worldwide?

You're right in saying that the perception of the US has changed in the Arab world... but I think it is clear that it has changed for the worse. As the National Intelligence Estimate just released suggests, the war in Iraq is fueling the recruitment of radical islamist organizations like Al Qaeda.

Anonymous said...

You are sugesting that Clinton didn't know about Alqaida or the dangers of terrorism. Ignorance is not an excuse for Pres. Bush so why should it be for Clinton. He talked tough and continues to talk tough but did nothing. For the record I think Clinton did a good job under the circumstances. But history will hold him accountable for everything that occured or did not occur during his presidency regardless of whose fault it was.

Marc said...

You are twisting what I say my friend. Hindsight on these matters is 20/20, but, in my mind, most people will judge past presidents on the information they had available to them. I've simply argued that any accusation that Clinton "did nothing" is not only unfair, but grossly inaccurate. No where in my post have I leveled any attacks against Bush for things he did not know. For the record, I don't blame 9/11 on Bush. If Richard Clarke is to be believed, perhaps Bush should have been more focused on Al Qaeda before 9/11 (for things that were known mind you), but I have serious doubts as to whether that would have prevented the attacks. Hindsight, as I've said, is 20/20. The only critique my post makes of President Bush is of his defense of his Iraq war policy. He's often defended decisions such as those on troop levels in Iraq as being dictated by his Generals leading the war. But statements like this from Generals like Batiste clearly cut against any such explanations. Troop levels in Iraq were based on neo-conservative assumptions about how American troops would be received in Iraq, not on recommendations from Generals. If you will remember, General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the Army when the Iraq war began, was essentially forced out in 2003 for having testified before a Senate Committee before the war saying that we need several hundred thousand troops to carry out the mission. Instead of listening to these generals, the civilian leadership of the military based their decisions on the aforementioned neo-conservative assumptions which were dead wrong. If we were going to try to fight this war at all, we shouldn't have tried to fight it on the cheap. We're paying for those missteps now.

BA said...

What is the record you two homos keep talking about?

Anonymous said...

I believe we have gone off on a tangent. I was never trying to defend bush. I completly agree with your origional Post. I was responding to your conversation with TFB. Bush, Rumsfeld and every politically driven general in the pentagon who did not and will not stand up to them are responsible for the mess in Iraq. But someone is also responsible for 9/11. The President (both Bush and Clinton) did not do enough. I think we can agree on that.

BA said...

I knew this was going to turn into a sappy make-out fest between you two.

Marc said...

BA - You know... THE record... it's great. You really should check it out.

Huck - I won't dispute you there. Both Bush and Clinton made mistakes and fell short, but as Giuliani reminded us yesterday, ultimately neither Bush nor Clinton are responsible for 9/11.

Marc said...

BA - You know... THE record... it's great. You really should check it out.

Huck - I won't dispute you there. Both Bush and Clinton made mistakes and fell short, but as Giuliani reminded us yesterday, ultimately neither Bush nor Clinton are responsible for 9/11.

BA said...

further proving my point...way to go Marc