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Senator Bond, blog reader January 24, 2007

Posted by Matt Hurst in Missouri, Politics.
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An interview after the President’s State of the Union caught my ear, or rather a couple phrases uttered by Missouri Senator Kit Bond (R).  Watch it for yourself if you’d like

“I said, continuing to do the same thing and expecting to get a different result I believe is the definition of insanity. But when the president comes forward with a new strategy”

While a majority of the interview covers the kind of rhetorical talking points you’d expect the Republican party to tout in the media, one caught my attention: It sounded almost identical to something I said in my last post (at the start of it):

“It is commonly said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results”. The more things change in Iraq the more they stay the same…”

For a rhettorical way to frame discussion of the president’s change in Iraq strategy (or rather, a lackthereof) that I hadn’t heard anyone else making, the Senator sure seems to have done a little research, eh?  Maybe now would be a good time to remind the office of my representative Senator that I have a few more turns of phrase, or rather a few choice words, for his ear about Iraq as well.

Troop inSURGEncy January 10, 2007

Posted by Matt Hurst in Politics.
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It is commonly said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results”. The more things change in Iraq the more they stay the same: while Rumsfeld is (finally!) out and the generals changing, President Bush has no one left to blame for his failure to ensure a democratic Iraqi state because of the complete lack of security. More importantly, US troops continue to die in increasing numbers while Iraq creeps further and further into a civil war. In the meantime, other threats have emerged on the world stage only to be ignored because of our preOccupation in a war based on lies.
But instead of finding the political and tactical solutions all military and diplomatic experts urge is necessary now, President Bush is expected to announce a proposed increase in troop levels in the Iraqi theater. He will argue that this increase will quell violence and allow the Iraqi forces to grow so that they can be selfsustaining. Mr. Bush may further yet admit that he has made mistakes (gasp!); ones he will tell us he has learned from in this new plan. While everyone agrees that troop levels should have been higher during the initial invasion force to ensure security, that window of opportunity has passed. Perhaps the president would be advised to learn from other mistakes, like the times he has increased the troop levels before tonight:

 1.)  Massive Troop Rotations (December 2003-April 2004): As part of a massive rotation of 250,000 troops in the winter and spring of 2004, troop levels in Iraq were raised from 122,000 to 137,000. Yet, the increase did nothing to prevent Muqtada al-Sadr’s Najaf uprising and April of 2004 was the second deadliest month for American forces. [Brookings Institution, 12/21/06. www.icasualties.org. USA Today, 3/4/04
2.)  Constitutional Elections and Fallujah (November 2004-March 2005): As part of an effort to improve counterinsurgency operations after the Fallujah offensive in November 2004 and to increase security before the January 2005 constitutional elections U.S. forces were increased by 12,000 to 150,000. Again there was no long-term security impact. [Brookings Institution, 12/21/06. New York Times, 12/2/04.] 
3.)  Elections and Constitutional Referendum (September-December 2005): In the fall of 2005 the Bush administration increased troop levels by 22,000, making a total of 160,000 American troops in Iraq around the constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections. While the elections went off without major violence these escalations had little long-term impact on quelling sectarian violence or attacks on American troops. [Brookings Institution,
12/21/06. www.icasualties.org
4.)  Operation Together Forward, (June-October 2006): In June the Bush administration announced a new plan for securing Baghdad by increasing the presence of Iraqi Security Forces. That plan failed, so in July the White House announced that additional American troops would be sent into Baghdad. By October, a U.S. military spokesman, Gen. William Caldwell, acknowledged that the operation and troop increase was a failure and had “not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence.” [CNN, 1
2/19/06. Washington Post, 7/26/06. Brookings Institution, 12/21/06.]

The metric by which we win this war has to change, because you can change metrics but not necessarily outcomes.  Tactical changes recommended by the Iraq Study group actually include a reduction of troop levels in Iraq over the next 6 months rather than the surge of troop levels.  Any new tactics ought to be taken on by existing troop levels, so maybe we need an exit strategy…

Maybe I’m the one insane, but I hear echoes of another voice in the room
“I’m not going to be the first American president to lose a war”
…I really oughta stop playing the Nixon tapes on repeat.  THE EMPORER HAS NO CLOTHES!