Friday, October 5, 2007

Real Leadership at the Pentagon, and the *mission* comes under scrutiny

There is a sea change occurring at the Pentagon, as the last of the ideologues skulk away, having created a no-good-options situation through fecklessness, incompetence and blind fealty to ideology that the United States will have a hell of a time disengaging from.

Competent managers who view Iraq as a problem to be solved have replaced the ideologues, and not a moment too soon.

[Secretary of Defense] Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, Undersecretary for Intelligence Gen. James Clapper and other top officials also are concerned that the war may be crippling the military's ability to respond to other crises. They have allies in the congressional Democratic leadership — particularly House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri — who've been speaking out about that for months.

"I'm convinced we are in serious trouble readiness-wise," Skelton said this week in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers. "Am I worried? I'm worried to death." "The parallels are alarming," Skelton said. "We cannot risk breaking the Army again. My real worry is that we have a choice between two losses or one loss. We're not putting enough effort into Afghanistan, and I'm deeply concerned about that."

As frustration has mounted as the Democrats, with a slight majority in the House and a razor-thin majority in the Senate, have been unable to influence American war policy in Iraq, reality has reared it’s ugly head again, and presented a series of developments that demand attention and mean that Bush’s “Stay the Course” bleating is the nothing more than the ranting of a dishonest, delusional and deranged halfwit.

· The choice of the competent Robert Gates to replace the demented, dismissed and criminally inept Donald Rumsfeld – one of the mental midgets who conceived of the glorious fuck-up in Iraq – in an of itself set a new course. Gates resigned a spot on the Iraq Study Group when he was nominated for the Sec Def position. The ISG emphasized the need to reach out to neighboring countries, and "strongly urged" a drawdown of American forces in Iraq.

· The people at the top now are more concerned about the overall health of the U.S. military organization, which is showing signs of severe strain; than with coddling the delusional outlook of Commander Codpiece.

· A whole slew of official reports have been released in recent weeks that paint a grim picture. The Iraqi security forces will not be ready to take over security for the country for at least a year, and the Iraqis have made little progress toward political reconciliation. "Barring that, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference," Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

· The release of a United Nations report that finds the Taliban and al Qaeda are resurgent in Afghanistan. More forces are needed in Afghanistan, and they simply aren’t there to we can't send them because we're bogged down" in an "intractable civil war" in Iraq, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said Wednesday

· Bush has historic low approval ratings, and he is a lame duck facing hostile Democratic majorities in both chambers of congress. Those congressional representatives are facing hostile, angry constituents, and the constituents are in no mood for appeasement.

It remains to be seen if Gates and the new uniformed leadership can check the commander guy, and hopefully prevent another ill-advised shooting war with Iran. Here is wishin’ ‘em luck…