Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kristol vs. The Corner

Bill Kristol doesn't need me to defend him from Mark R. Levin, but I'll do it anyway. Just 'cause.

Levin predictably assails Kristol for having the temerity to question the infinite wisdom of "The" Donald Rumsfeld. In many corners of Bushworld, the president's nectar of infallibility trickles all the way down to SecDef.

The crux of Levin's argument is: "At no time does Kristol, or his Senate friends McCain and Hagel, explain where the additional troops will come from. It's very odd that those who supported the war from day one now complain about troop strength, when surely they knew at the time that we didn't have another 100,000 to 150,000 troops to deploy to Iraq."

Kristol has, of course, been agitating for more troops since five minutes after the dawn of time. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but Levin should peruse it nonetheless:

* November 19, 2001: "Right now we simply do not have enough troops or weapons to carry out these missions. We will need to recruit more soldiers and procure more weapons--or risk losing the war on terrorism. But more troops cost money. As Thomas Donnelly of the Project for the New American Century has noted, recruiting, training, and equipping an additional 50,000 active-duty soldiers for the Army alone will cost an additional $15 billion per year. Right now, the president's total request for an increase in defense spending is $20 billion. There will have to be much more."

* February 4, 2002: "In the coming months and years this war will require the U.S. armed forces to fight wars both big and small in a variety of different theaters--in East Asia and Central Asia, in the Persian Gulf, in the Horn of Africa, and who knows where else. . . . Victory in the larger war will require not only that the United States rid other countries of dangerous terrorists and the governments that support them, but that we also take on the difficult task of providing long-term security afterward, to allow nation-building to proceed in those countries where terrorists once found haven. . . . It will require increasing the number of men and women under arms."

* September 1, 2003: "It's true that, unfortunately, we don't have many troops to spare. . . . We should have begun rebuilding our military two years ago. And it is true that increasing the size of our forces, both in Iraq and overall, is unattractive to administration officials. But this is the time to bite the bullet and pay the price."

There's more where that came from.

In fact, Kristol was urging more troops way before 9/11. In July 2001, Kristol and Robert Kagan wrote an editorial calling on Rumsfeld to resign so as to focus attention on "the impending evisceration of the American military."

All hail the blogosphere. Spout first, think second, research some other time. [Okay, now that's out of bounds; Levin's a great guy. --ed I know, I already feel guilty about it. Sorry Mark.]

9 comments:

Hawaii57 said...

Let us not forget that criticism, informed or otherwise, is as American as apple pie. How many times have we popped off about this or that idiot. Fortunately for the commentator/critics they don't actually have to run the war. On the main Rumsfeld and the DOD have done a cracker jack job. Lets allow for nitpicking at the margins and get on with spreading democracy in Iraq so we can bring the troops home and leave the up armored Humvees where they sit.

Roy Lofquist said...

Hear, Hear!

Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld. Defense Secretary on Sept. 11, 2001. Personally supervised rescue operations from the rubble of the Pentagon. Guided Afghanistan war, relying on light special forces, air power and native allies (transformation anyone?). Free elections were held. Despite Turkish denial of Northern Front, Rumsfeld approved strategy smashes Saddam in less than 6 weeks even counting a sandstorm out of nightmares. Iran, North Korea and China take none of these opportunities to start third war on any front. First democratic elections in an arab country since Lebanon fell scheduled next month. All of the foregoing accomplished with fewer American deaths than on 9/11. If this be failure we need more failed cabinet secretaries. Kristol's got to get a grip.

John J. Vecchione

Aakash said...

There are so many division within the current American debate - on the right, on the left, among Republicans, among Democrats, among libertarians, and even among the neoconservatives. The difficulties in Iraq following the 5/1/03 declaration of "victory" by President Bush have created divisions among pro-war conservatives and Republicans - as well as among the Democratic and liberal supporters of the Iraq war. Divisions already existed - there were debates between the traditionalist conservatives, paleoconservatives, libertarian conservatives, and neocons, and between the anti-war liberals, the liberal internationalists, and the neoliberals.

These divisions were already there before the Iraq war began, and many of them had to do with the different schools of geopolitical thought. With regard to the issue of our government's handling of Iraq, there are even more divisions that have arisen, since some of those who strongly supported the Iraq war (such as Bill Kristol and Newt Gingrich and John McCain) have joined with the anti-war conservatives, Republicans, liberals, and Democrats in also strongly criticizing the way that the Bush administration and the Pentagon have been managing this operation.

So there has been the criticism (of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney, Bush, etc...) from those of us on the Right who opposed this war - such as the traditionalist conservatives, the pro-liberty, anti-state republicans, the constitutionalists, the paleos, the libertarian rightists, and the foreign policy realists. And then, there has been the criticism of them by the those who supported the war, and continue to support it - such as some of the neoconservatives, the neoliberals, and others. And also, there are many - on both the left and the right - who supported the Iraq war, and are having doubts about whether it was the right thing to do. Many of these people, however, believe that now that the decision to go to war has been long underway, we need to focus on the present situation, and do all that we can to make things go as well as possible.

Real-life geopolitical situations create all these cleavages and debates - we have to realize that it is more than just a matter of right vs. left; Republican vs. Democrat, Bush-supporter vs. Bush-opponent, pro-war vs. anti-war. I have been writing a great deal about these matters during the past two years... I don't have much time now, though - this is just a brief statement about this situation. This is the first time that I recall being at this weblog; I should look around some more. Keep up the good work.

Aakash said...

Oh dear... I had thought - when I posted that comment - that this was just another political opinion blog; I didn't realize that this was the weblog of actual journalists.

I just looked at your sidebar, and I realized that the authors of this weblog are actually with the Weekly Standard. I've said some things about that magazine before... That discussion would be better left for another time. ;-)

Anonymous said...

ON THE WHOLE, Rummy has been great. Bush would be absolutely CRAZY to push him out. Whom would he pick as replacement? Just deal with the issues (# of troops, condition of equipment, etc.) and forget the nay-sayers.

AKA Miguel Sanchez said...

Wow, Trent Lott just joined your "cause", guys--doesn't that make you feel great? Some pork-barrel weapons projects are in mortal danger!

The fire-Rumsfeld "movement" is really hilarious... though I still enjoy the Weekly Standard, can't say I care much for the perennial ritual of "sucking up" to whatever idiotic Beltway notion is in vogue right now

Westmont said...

I've been a Rummy supporter for a long time. Do I think he is infallible? Of course not. The only infallible person I know is my mother-in-law, at least in her opinion. I have to say in both cases of my dear muminlaw and Rummy, I prefer the "devil I know" over the "devil I don't know".

Rumsfeld has a boss, and the buck stops with him. I still strongly support taking the war on terrorism to Iraq. I can Monday morning quarterback or I can offer constructive criticism. (Although the line does blur). I think we do need to increase troop numbers, but unlike the hastily assembled Iraqi Army, an division or squadron of American forces is not created overnight.

E. J. Klingenfus said...

Am I the only person to remember that General Shinseki was fired for his view on the number of troops needed for the Iraq event? And, to his great credit, he has been totally silent through all subsequent debate. He is a true hero and has not been properly recognized.