A Man with a Plan

The other day I was having a conversation with two co-workers when the topic suddenly veered in the direction of politics. I made a statement about the choppy sentence structure in a poorly written novel I had read, when one of them stated, “Yeah, George Bush talks like that. He’s such an idiot.”

I returned with a statement along the lines of, “Whatever else you may think about the guy, he’s not an idiot. I don’t think a genuine idiot can get elected President.” (And I don’t. I cannot stand the sight of Bill Clinton, but the guy’s no moron. Liar? Yep. Thinks with his pecker too much? You bet. Too concerned with his own personal glory to do his job when he was in office? Sure. Stupid? No.)

At this point one of the women with whom I was speaking went into full auto rant mode: “He’s a total moron! He took us into Iraq with no plan whatsoever and now we’re stuck there! He’s an idiot!” and so forth. She continued by decrying the fact that we’re (horrors!) still there, saying that the war is still going, and we didn’t win because we haven’t caught Saddam. I interjected at some point to say that there was most definitely a plan, and that noone at any point had suggested we were going to go in and then turn around and leave; (e.g. the plan involved staying there for a good while).

“There was no plan!” she cried. “His plan was to go in with guns blazing! That was his plan!”

My first impulse is to think of a quote I read sometime in the early part of the Bush II administration. I wish I could remember who said it, but it was, “If he’s so stupid, how does he keep outwitting all these brilliant people?” I somewhat foolishly said this to her, which naturally inspired her to redouble her insistence that he’s “an idiot”, as though she could make it true if she were just emphatic enough.

This got me thinking later about just how well the administration thought things out. Think about it: We’ve been there for five months now. In that time, we’ve trained some 100,000 Iraqis to be police officers and security officers. That doesn’t happen without a plan. There was no mass starvation in Iraq (or Afganistan), as the doomsayers predicted there would be, because before we ever went in we had arranged to get food to the populace. That doesn’t happen without a plan. There are local ruling councils in place throughout the country, and they’re already on the road to self-rule. That doesn’t happen without a plan. (And again taking a look at Afganistan, they’ve just released a draft constitution for their new government). We’ve rebuilt the failed infrastructure to a point where in many areas it’s better than it was before. That doesn’t happen without a plan. Baghdad has bustling marketplaces and the country has 160+ independent newspapers where there was nothing six months ago. That doesn’t happen without a plan. We’ve caught or killed over 40 of the 52 “most wanted” in the former Iraqi regime. That doesn’t happen without a plan.

You can argue that we should not have gone in (if you must), but you have to completely blind yourself to reality to suggest that he didn’t know what he was doing. There is a plan, and so far it has been an extremely successful one.

5 Responses to “A Man with a Plan”

  1. Dan Janowak Says:

    Bush doesn’t strike me as an idiot, and I will make no claim about how smart he may or may not be. But the fact that he does keep advisers who are brilliant around him, then Bush is at least wise.

    It has been said that it isn’t the President who makes the policy, he just chooses which policy gets implemented. So if you offer him 4 policies (for a given topic) to pick from, then the President’s brilliance is limited by his or her (oneday) options.

    It sounds like you encountered a wild animal and then proceeded to corner it and antagonize it. I hope it was fun. But your post might be to vent and also detail your version of the story and your view of the situation regarding Bush. Like a diary.

    Most people don’t understand politics OR diplomacy. France, Germany, and Russia had billions of dollars st stake (in Iraq) and for whatever reason they decided to play both sides of the fence until Saddam was captured. Now that he has, they don’t have to play both sides of the fence. Those nations were wise not to upset Saddam. America already once let him go and if he returned to power, then Saddam might not be well disposed to them. The risk of the game was do I piss off my friend America or piss off Saddam the killer and they didn’t get him the first time.

    As an aside, the opposing nations are only restricted thus far from being first in line for the Iraqi contracts, but they can be second in line or sub-contractors.

    Bush is calling for the Death Penalty, but that likely won’t happen. It is posturing. To get what you want sometimes means taking a more extreme position than you are willing to accept and if you get more than you thought you could get then goody. To do so in a marriage or among friends says something about the person.

    Getting involved with a wild animal is something I do often and in a sense everyone except the most buddhist buddhists are wild animals about given topics. But to dismantle the wild animal’s rants at their root (to defuse the issue) I have to understand their prime motivation and their current mood. Are they already having a bad day? Do they deserve what I am about to do to them?

    A common thing among bicycle racers is "I see monkeys." "No you don’t, their baboons." is sometimes the response. It refers to the clapping, waving, bouncing, genital revealing fans standing along the course of the road races, primarily the larger races where the most rowdy monkeys.. errr baboons show up to give their support. Sometimes I think that the bystanders could refer to the general populace, especially in regards to the shifty game of politics and posturing. (And I have paraphrased from a bicycling magazine article.)

    So now that Saddam has been caught and there is a rumor that Osama has been caught for some time what are the repercussions and how do you feel about your post? Is the CIA pretending to put out Osama’s tapes so that his terrorist network continues as if he were alive so that they can be rounded up instead of slither back into hiding to bide their time or regroup? The US is the only nation confirming the Osama tapes and that it IS his voice. And didn’t we find a bunch of his tapes a while back in some caves in Afghanistan?

    Once enough of the networks are destroyed, Osama’s capture doesn’t ruin intelligence gathered from or through him or other parts of his network. And by capturing dissidents and shipping them to where Osama is, they can break some terrorists, who then reveal more information.

    Besides look at it from the big picture. If you catch Osama… then you can safeguard your information and more quickly eliminate his network, but the big bonus is this: you can reveal or stage his capture just before a presidential election. Brilliant, but I doubt that George thought of it first, even if he does chose to do such a thing.

    Ever wonder about the timing of Saddam’s capture? Gore makes the big announcement to support Dean and also makes his bid to steal the democratic power away from the Clintons (both make surges which become muted by the fact that Saddam has been captured). Afghanistan has it’s loya girga, it’s latest attempt to ratify a constitution. They are now more likely to vote yes and work together. If they can get Saddam, then they can get Osama or themselves…

    Still, looking at all of the evidence… to stage such a thing… what would be required?

    1) It wasn’t Saddam pulled from the hole.2) The switch to show the real Saddam was done at a different time.3) The real Saddam is now showing at theaters near you. (sorry Lords of the Rings is on the Brain and I haven’t yet seen it)4) The real Saddam gets paraded in front of the dignitaries so they know it really is him.

    It wasn’t a normal patrol that day, they had along special forces and the cordon was as much part of the process to search for dissidents as it was to protect Saddam because the switch has to be made as close to the point of ‘capture’ as possible.

    I’m not what you would call a theory conspirist. I just merely reserve judgement and watch the show and decide based on the political ramifications and timings to decide if there is a valid reason to think that everything isn’t as it seems. Only when enough valid reasons pop up, that I then begin to pay attention to everything that might even be related to watch for inconsistencies in behavior that would be suggestive that something else really happened.

    Why is it that Saddam has lists of who had been naughty and nice with him? It seems every top guy has these lists of information. Which readers assume is how we are getting everyone. He might have them as pay back lists. i.e. a who has been naughty or nice list.

    And no one made thee singular tip to find Saddam because it came from lots of general information. This makes me chuckle. If they acknowledged a single informant or trio of informants, then they were dead and the money is worthless. The only other way to safeguard a real informant is to put up a different person and then have that other person die. But that wouldn’t help bring out more information, it would restrict the flow of information that the coalition has been receiving because an informant was killed. And now there is a flood of information.

    I’m a little shocked. There are too many possibilities. Could it be true? Yes. But I don’t know if it is. I may live my whole life and never see the documentary about what really had happened.

    If what I see is even half true, then we have an incredibly good set of people running the US AND Bush is their figurehead. The combination is brilliant and it’s been a memorable show.

    We are Americans and we fight for what is right. We are not Ender who fights and kills until the enemy is completely and utterly vanquished. THAT is not the American way.

  2. Strider Says:

    For one, I don’t believe for a second that Saddam had been captured some time before and then held until the timing was politically right in this country. First, the positive psychological effect in Iraq itself is important enough that we would have wanted it to hit as soon as possible. News Flash To Iraq: Saddam Is Never Coming Back.

    Second, this administration simply is not that duplicitous.

    Also, there was a single capture that was one of the big tipoffs leading to Saddam. The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article this morning regarding the two people who were tasked with figuring out the organization and structure of Saddam’s contacts, tribal and family allies, etc. They basically went through thousands of pages of raw intelligence on the various known people in Iraq and distilled it down to a four-page chart that shows the most complete image we have of the organization of these disparate groups. This lead them to hunt down and capture a key person who in turn lead to Saddam’s capture. And from Saddam they were quickly able to go out and capture several others.

    Incidentally, this is the first I’ve heard of the "we’ve already got Osama" theory. Are you sure you’re not a conspiracy theorist Dan-o?

    Also, Bush is not in an official capacity calling for the death penalty. In his initial press conference a reporter asked him what he thought should happen to Saddam and his answer (twice) was "What I think doesn’t matter". In a later statement he said that he personally thinks Saddam should be executed, but he has made it clear every time he’s talked about it that that’s his personal view and that the decision must be made by the Iraqi people. And despite your doubts, I would be extremely surprised if Saddam does not get the death penalty. Apparently it’s pretty common in Arab countries; and for someone as hated as he is…. he’s a dead man.

    BTW, I didn’t toy with the (ahem) "wild animal" too much. It was really just the one jab. The rest of the post was just the post, not what was said at that time.

  3. Dan Janowak Says:

    Chuckle. I have been waiting for your reply on this and others. I have been thinking about my choice of words and length of comment. Since I posted my first comment, I have heard others talk about having gotten both Saddam and Osama already, but only from senior democrats. But they are on the outside enviously looking in and might be a bit punchy about things that heap goodies on Bush’s doorstep before the holiday season.

    So I find that I have similar thoughts to them? How did that happen? Here I thought I was just different in my thoughts processes and tracking diplomatic clues. Anyway, I’ll eventually get back to sleuthing and watching the timing and posture of those with something to lose in the game of politics and games in general.

    I agree that the psychological effect is valid, but if gaining that psychological impact means losing or lessening the opportunity to capture more of Saddam’s regime, I would choose to delay the psychological effect for increased effectiveness in eliminating Saddam’s regime. The psychological effect would happen no matter when he was captured and there is both good and bad in when it happens.

    Some targets of Saddam’s regime would undoubtedly slither or slink away if it became known that he was captured. Those dastardly villains needed to be captured before he was caught. Then there are others who would willingly give up if it were known that he was caught. I have no idea which ones are which or even how many there are, but I would like to see them all captured.

    I theorize or hypothesize about plans and conspiracies, but that doesn’t make me a conspiracy theorist. I have too many other interests. 😉 Although learning the game of disinformation techniques where there is something at stake is intriguiging.

    The community of gamers, most particularly, Scott Drane’s game night and the FR community, provide ample fodder for learning about human behavior in an enjoyable non academic setting.

    I can usually tell who is ‘winning’ a given game and when I play FR, I have not been in contention at a time when attention needed to be drawn to the leader. So my ploy of attracting and coordinating the attention to the leader works, but only because I don’t stand to gain OR the others don’t consider me a threat to win. When I play AOR, everyone is in contention until the final round (theory among good players) and telling the truth that I am not in the game (based on my cards and board position), when I really am not in the game makes people attack me because they think everyone is always in it. Different games have different mechanisms. So my flaw in dealing with these extraordinary board gamers is not basing my diplomacy on their beliefs, but on my own.

    In both FR and AOR there is hidden information so you can appear stronger or weaker than you actually are. In AOR there is a discrete finish line, so you can pretend to be weaker and then zoom to the finish line and steal the victory from out of nowhere, but in FR it is really hard to come from behind at the last instant to win because it is a game of dominance, not a race.

  4. Saga Says:

    I have never heard the "We caught Osama" theory either, who have YOU been talking to? As for Saddam having been captured earlier- was there a large roundup of higher ups BEFORE the capture of Saddam? No, it was after. And if they wanted to delay the release of the news that Saddam was captured to engage in a sting operation of sorts, then we would have heard of the capture of others beforehand. Instead, the raids were enacted AFTER the bad guys had time to run and hide. We still got them, of course, but there was the possibility that they could have headed for the border the moment Saddam’s picture flashed on the news.

  5. Dan Janowak Says:

    I am not surprised when other people don’t hear or otherwise observe the things that I do and even if they did, I regularly find that people don’t see the same things as each other.

    I said that particular patterns in information regarding Saddam are and were suggestive and why and what the information pointed to.

    I don’t and didn’t expect you or anyone to believe me solely based on my thoughts and words. It’s up to the reader to do their own searching and verifying and if they end up misleading themselves then it’s their own fault. Type in Madeleine Albright in a search engine and see what you find in current news. Also type in Mad Albright for how some others view her comments around the time Saddam was captured.

    The 2 people who made comments about Osama’s capture when Saddam was caught were Madeleine Albright and a democratic senator from Washington State.

    Immediately their ‘information’ or words are suspect because of their chosen anti Bush and anti Republican machinery bent. But Albright was a former secretary of state and would still have contacts both in the US and overseas. But most importantly, she should have enough self control not to make ‘silly’ or outrageous statements.

    I don’t like including this kind of potentially biased information for consideration, because she has nothing to lose by making the outrageous comment except losing more credibility that she doesn’t have with people who already don’t like her. Others aren’t impacted by what she said.

    But I still make note of her comments. After all she was talking about Bin Laden when it was Saddam who had been caught.

    So what would rile up a former secretary of state? Someone who must maintain composure above all else? And what does that add or subtract from the picture?

    1) A Bush administration holding Osama to maintain pressure in the war on terror in order to improve chances of getting re-elected.

    2) A Bush administration holding Osama or Saddam and using their ‘captures’ for political gains against her party.

    3) She isn’t secretary of state anymore and can speak her mind more freely or is otherwise less able or willing to keep herself composed.

    4) She was never a cool character, but she played one because it is not good to have a wild or explosive secretary of state.

    They are all possible reasons for why she lost her composure and had to recant her public comments saying that she was just joking. The outburst can not be ruled out as being insignificant to the situation and heated moment of the time.

    The bottom line is something got to a former (if not also current master) master of composure and diplomacy. That’s what makes it such a striking possibility combined with such a quick recanting of her words. Something got to her and she reacted instantly. Who knows?? Maybe Howard Dean is getting to her.

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