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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: General Confusion

“At his press conference yesterday, President Bush urged Congress and the American people to let the military leadership determine the ‘conditions on the ground’ in Iraq and the possibilities for success. He urged support and respect for the ‘command structure.’
I noticed, however, that none of the president's statutory military advisers was mentioned by name or position. Some Bush critics and war opponents may conclude that the president is avoiding widespread dissent in the Pentagon by creating his own command structure and stacking it with yes men and weak leaders. I read it exactly the opposite: The brass is avoiding the president and the war in Iraq -- and doing so in the passive-aggressive way that has come to characterize our current civilian-military relations.”
-William M Arkin, Washington Post, July 15, 2007

“So it looks like the military is starting to push back a little, eh? I guess that if you read about the military claiming that Fearless Leader wants something, well, then you can pretty much guarantee that the military doesn’t want it. Let’s take a look..”

“The U.S. military's top general said Monday that the Joint Chiefs of Staff is weighing a range of possible new directions in Iraq, including, if President Bush deems it necessary, an even bigger troop buildup.”
-Associated Press, July 16, 2007

“That certainly sounds like something that the military doesn’t want to do. Why would the Joint Chiefs of Staff want to bypass their direct advisory roll on this though?”

“Here's the lineup of military commanders and ‘military thinkers and planners’ that the president is listening to: Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander in Iraq. Yesterday in his press conference, Bush mentioned him more than 10 times.
Yes, Bush mentioned the Joint Chiefs a few times in some vague way as people he consults with. But Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the president's principle military adviser by law? No mention, even by position. Adm. William Fallon, the commander of U.S. Central Command, the president's combatant commander for the region by law and the next in the chain of command above Petraeus? No mention.”
-William M Arkin, Washington Post, July 15, 2007

“Once again.. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are apparently not generals ‘on the ground’. Bush is quite adamant about only listening to the generals ‘on the ground’.”

“We have an objective in Iraq, and as we meet those objectives, our commanders on the ground will determine the size of the troop levels.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 19, 2005

“Our strategy in Iraq is, as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down. Troop levels on the ground will be decided by commanders on the ground -- not by politicians in Washington, D.C..”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, February 24, 2006

“I guess he’s started listening to them because of the lack of success with the early part of the war. Fearless Leader went to the generals and asked questions…”

“I remember going down to the basement of the White House the day we committed our troops as last resort, looking at Tommy Franks and the generals on the ground, asking them, ‘Do we have the right plan with the right troop level?’
And they looked me in the eye and said, ‘Yes, sir, Mr. President.’ Of course, I listen to our generals. That's what a president does. A president sets the strategy and relies upon good military people to execute that strategy.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, Second Bush-Kerry Presidential Debate, October 8, 2004

“…and we all know how that went. Now it is years later and we are trapped in the middle of a civil war with no end in sight. You know who I blame? Tommy Franks. I would blame Fearless Leader, but the other day he clearly showed that it was the general’s fault.”

“On Thursday, the White House gave Congress a progress report that showed the Iraqi government was making unsatisfactory progress on many political and military milestones. At a news conference, President Bush defended the buildup of U.S. troops as well as his decisions on troop numbers earlier in the conflict.
Bush said that when he asked Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief during the initial invasion in March 2003, whether he had enough troops, he told him he did. Bush said he recalled sitting in a meeting downstairs at the White House asking each commander responsible for different aspects of the operations that led to toppling Saddam Hussein.
‘I said to each one of them ‘Do you have what it takes?' Are you satisfied with the strategy?' And the answer was ‘Yes,' ‘ Bush said.”
-Associated Press, July 13, 2007

“And we all know what the punishment for incompetence is at the White House.”

“President Bush will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to L. Paul Bremer III, Tommy R. Franks, and George J. Tenet in a ceremony at the White House on December 14, 2004.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation's highest civil award. It was established by President Truman and later re-established by President Kennedy. It is awarded by the President of the United States to persons who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
-White House Press Secretary, December 2, 2004

“Still, Fearless Leader is listening to top people and learning his lessons. He’s already learned a lot…”

“I learned some good lessons from Vietnam. First, there has to be a clear mission. And second, politics has to stay out of fighting the war. ... I’ve got great confidence in Gen. Tommy Franks.”

-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 13, 2002

“… and he is learning how to better articulate his desires for peace and security…”

“And there's no better symbol of our desire to work for peace and security than working on a missile defense system -- a missile defense system that would provide security for Europe from single or dual-launched regimes that may emanate from parts of the world where leaders don't particularly care for our way of life, and/or in the process of trying to develop serious weapons of mass destruction.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 16, 2007

“…so by the time we attack Iran we should be ready to do it right.”

“The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favor of military action before US President George W. Bush leaves office in 18 months. The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department over the past month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran.”
-The Guardian (UK), July 17, 2007


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