PATRIOTS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LOVE FOR AMERICA

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Suffered all the chances and changes of war Thucydides

Frank Rich, the theatre, film, and television critic turned political analyst since the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, in his latest op-ed on August 5, 2007, in the New York Times titled, Patriots who Love the Troops to Death, uses emotive words and language, as the title of his piece indicates, to make his “sober” and cool analysis of the war and its supporters or “credulous enablers”, to quote him, from both sides of the political spectrum. In a stream of lava pouring down from his theatrical volcanic eruptions he repeats the time-worn accusations of “Whitehouse lying and cover-ups have been not just in the service of political thuggery but to gin up a gratuitous war without end”. Rich sombrely states that “both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and both liberals and conservatives in the news media were credulous enablers of the Iraq fiasco”. He quotes with exhilaration, as if one held in view a peacenik four star general performing on the stage his No to War stand, the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen, saying that “no amount of troops in no amount of time will make much of a difference” in Iraq if there is no functioning Iraqi government. And he lets fly his flaming arrows on Michael O’ Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, two political analysts and war experts of the Brookings Institution, accusing them of “blatant careerism” for their optimistic views of Iraq, “on the backs of the additional troops they ask to be sacrificed to the doomed mission of providing security for an Iraqi government that is both on vacation and on the verge of collapse”. Lastly, to clinch the seriousness of his argument he even places the name of the “ogre” Rupert Murdoch on the top of the bill of his vaudevillian performance.

It’s by such “blood-stained” dramatic statements that our former art critic forges his political analysis of the war and by which he impugns the Bush administration and its sundry credulous enablers of all political doctrines and persuasions. But in his rush to cast his thespian thunderbolts upon the administration and the supporters of the war, he is missing the fact that he is casting his bolts in an already dawning blue sky that is emerging over Iraq. Rich misses, or maybe he is dazzled by the shining fact that the surge is working, under the generalship of the able and imaginative David Petraeus, and slowly but methodically is achieving some of its strategic goals. Such as isolating al Qaeda from the mainstream of the Iraqi insurgency and winning over to the American side some Sunni leaders and their militias who are prepared to fight and are fighting al Qaeda.

Also, the new American tactics on the ground, such as operation Phantom Strike under the command of General Rick Lynch, is attacking al Qaeda and other insurgents in the middle of the night killing or capturing them and flashing them out of their safe havens. The insurgents to escape these devastating blows of the Americans are fleeing the towns around Baghdad abandoning their road bombs, rocket launchers and even in some cases their personal armaments, and moving further to the south for safety in an area of the Tigris river known as the Samarrah jungle. Tracked by intel the insurgents are presently highly vulnerable to the operations of Phantom Strike and in some cases are “sitting ducks”. Whereas before the surge they were the attackers and pursuers they are now the defenders and the pursued.

If this new counterinsurgency strategy of general Petraeus does not lose its momentum and continues to be successful against the insurgency, it will decisively deprive the insurgents of all initiative in the fields of their operations and lead them inexorably to their defeat. As the continuation and success of any insurgency rests on two tenets: (a) The insurgents are masters in the initiation of their own actions and (b) continue to have some support among the local population. Once their position slips from these two tenets and they are forced to find safety in jungles, as in this case, they will inevitably be prey to the latter’s environment and their strength and viability will be “devoured” both by the conditions of their survival in the jungle and by the “intel preying” of the American tiger.

In other words, the American military locomotive is finally moving forward on the rails of success. It’s precisely this success that critics like Rich are dubbing as a hopeless task and moreover hoping to derail. After investing so much of their grey matter to convince the American people of a pointless, futile, and unjust war, and making their “blatant” careers as celebrity pundits around the orbits of the media stars, now that the war shows the slow rise of a dawning success they are trying to find an escape in their state of denial. But they fully realize that the latter will be a noose around their necks if general Petraeus defeats the insurgency. And whose corollary is that from its ashes will rise the Phoenix of a solid democratic government in Iraq. Such an outcome will fully justify Bush’s invasion of Iraq while simultaneously tearing to pieces the professional reputations of all the pundits, academics and politicians who with such unprecedented intellectual shallowness and lack of moral resolve “cashiered” an American victory in Iraq.

After the brutal and ill-omened attack of 9/11 when “there was no room left for moral hesitation: the choice lay between salvation or destruction”, to quote Alexis de Tocqueville, all the effete nation’s disablers gathered together at the first signs of the difficulties of the war, as if ever war was easy, to passionately and vehemently criticize the Administration’s invasion of Iraq. While such a critique would be totally justifiable if it was focused and highlighted the initial and blatant mistakes of the Administration’s implementation of its strategy in Iraq and make suggestions how to correct them, the critics chose instead to condemn in toto Bush’s strategy against global terror.

But the conundrum for this ill-fated critique of the liberal professional establishment is why when there are visible and tangible improvements in the war against the insurgents and al Qaeda with the new strategy of the surge the critics of the war continue apparently to be unconvinced of the improvements and refuse even to admit the possibility that they might be wrong. Instead, like rolling stones they even crash people of their own liberal strand who assert that this war might be winnable, like they did with Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack. To have expressed a modicum of doubt about their position would have been the reasonable thing to do before the rudimentary favourable signs in Iraq. But it’s obvious that the critics of the Bush administration, like Frank Rich, are more concerned about their professional status than their intellectual integrity. That is why their main concern is to convince the American electorate and Congress for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and use the vitriol of their tongues and pens for this purpose. It’s by such means that they can save their reputations from being everlastingly tarnished if the war happened to be won. They are patriots who have lost their love for America for the love that dares not speak its name, the love of their careers.

Comparing Dick Cheney to Ahmadinejad

Iran’s Leadership Battles

By Steven Clemons Washington Note, October 16, 2007

A reply by Kotzabasis and a counter reply by Clemons to the latter’s  comparison of Cheney to Ahmadinejad in his piece to the WN ending it with the phrase ‘the “Dick Cheney of Iran”, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’.

Steve, to print this shameful quote that compares Cheney to Ahmadinejad to please the political Scarlet O’Haras who follow you, shows that you have entered a redlight district willing to prostitute your scholarly reputation for a “scarlet” coin.

Steve said,

kotzabasis — thanks for your note though your attacks on some of my posts are as robust as some of my attempts at metaphorical comparison. seriously though, i do realize that some would be taken back by the comparison of ahmadinejad and cheney. some in the u.s. government — who are friends of mine — have told me as much about their discomfort with that comparison.

How they are dramatically similar is that both have been declining in relative influence and both see political gain in the increasing tension and potential collision between iran and the u.s. to some degree, ahmadinejad and cheney are able to help each other regain some influence in their respective countries.

What fascinates and worries me is that whereas political factions fighting it out in the US administration — or even in Iran — is nothing new, what is new is that you have such weight on both sides of the equation. bob gates is battling cheney. and maybe — wings of iran’s political establishment are battling rogue elements of the al quds force and ahmadinejad.

In that sense, I think that the comparison is apt — but i recognize and ‘respect’ your alternative take.

Thanks for sparring a bit with the blog. i do enjoy reading your commentary and understanding your take on many of these issues.

all the best,

Kotzabasis said,

My dear Steve, I’m always perplexed that a noble person like you stoops at times to the ugly passions of hoi polloi. But Marcel Proust is always relevant.

My best wishes too.

steve clemonsPosted by Steve Clemons at October 22, 2007 10:28 AM

UTOPIA BUILDERS SET UP BOUTIQUES TO SELL SHODDY PRODUCT

A retort to Dr Peter McMahon’sGlobal neo-imperial Fantasies Come Unstuck”.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The utopia builders, a la McMahon, have set up their boutiques in the global market to sell their shoddy product. After the collapse of the historically misplaced Communist utopia, with its Gulag Archipelagos and Killing Fields, the Left’s sorcerers apprentices are now concocting their new mantric utopia of “global governance”, to take the place of the displaced one. Two fundamental contradictions haunt your argument, and ultimately bury the phantoms of the ne-cons and of neo-imperialism that you raised in your piece. You state that “in the 1970’s a new global system was emerging”. Your phantoms however, the neo-cons, were only in power in 2000. By this time the system was already robust and on its course. The neo-cons were not fabricating a new version of it, as you claim, but were merely its new “managers”. And in the aftermath of 9/11, they were also trying to protect it. That was the reason why they went to war, not oil.

The second fundamental flaw in your argument is, that while you claim that “human experiences are too diverse to bend to the logic of one homogeneous society… Or one global market”, your panacea for the ills of “global neo-imperialism” is “global-scale governance”. At the same time you concede that such “governance” will have “to bend to the logic of…One global market”. But how will you put in place such governance upon such “diverse” non-homogeneous societies? Didn’t the recent failure of the EU to unite in reference to the amendments of its constitution, which is, moreover, culturally homogeneous, teach you anything?

Your remedy of “global-scale governance”, is intellectually unhinged and cannot be taken seriously. All you accomplish with your piece is to replace the “phantoms” of the neo-cons with your greater phantom of universal governance. By such intellectual credentials, Plato would never allow you to enter his Academy.

The Danger of Tyros Handling War Strategy

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:

Clinton’s Statement on Kyl-Lieberman Resolution Washington Note, September 30, 2007

Like the two eminent commentators of the New York Times Paul Krugman and Frank Rich, respectable in their own professions as an economist and art critic respectably, and a bevy of politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, not so respectable because of their populist stunt, all of them being novices par excellence in the affairs of war who have attempted to pass judgment on the war in Iraq and cashier its victory despite evidence to the contrary, we now have another “tired less” tyro joining them in war strategy. The scholar and blogger Steven Clemons of the Washington Note. Clemons indirectly rebukes Senator Clinton for her support and vote of the Kyl-Lieberman resolution that designates the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, fearing that this will allow Bush to manipulate this resolution and use it to attack Iran.

He calls therefore on Senator Clinton to exercise “leadership in passing an explicit Senate resolution forbidding Bush from taking action against Iran without clear advice and consent from Congress”. But such action is not a declaration of war against Iran needing the authorization of Congress. It’s a strategic force de frappe on the part of the US against Iran in which the elements of secrecy and surprise are pivotal and decisive in the success of such an attack. Therefore Clemons’ call is strategically oxymoronic.

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THE WAR CANNOT BE WON IF ITS COMMANDERS ARE HOSTAGES TO POLITICS

Dear readers of  this new blog,

I’m republishing this proposal sent to President Bush as Washington politicians are presently attempting to micro-manage the war.

Con George-Kotzabasis

The following was written on April 11, 2004 and was sent to President Bush on the same date. It’s republished now, as the Bush administration is forging a new strategy for Iraq that hopefully will be victorious against the murderous insurgents.

Dear Mr. President,

The present armed insurgency, threatening to become a general insurgency against your forces in Iraq, unless its momentum is promptly nipped in the bud, of Shiites and Sunnis against the Coalition, threatens to put off balance your whole strategic project for Iraq and the Middle East in general, which would have tremendously negative effects on the war against global terror. Needless to say therefore, the stakes are infinitely high.

At the present moment these fanatic thugs are fighting your forces under the misperception that they have the “upper hand” in this confrontation. It is for this reason therefore, that any conciliatory move your Authority in Iraq will be making toward the insurgents will be perceived by them to be a sign of weakness by your side. A current example of this is the ceasefire in Fallujah, that Paul Bremer was probably compelled to declare as a result of pressures put upon him by some members of the Interim Governing Council (IGC). This was done to presumably give the opportunity to diplomatic palaver to resolve some of the issues that are contested between, in my judgement, irreconcilable opponents. These talks are bound to fail, as you will confront the hardened positions of these fanatics, which arise from their false belief that they will be bargaining from a strong position, that will be totally incompatible with your military plans against the insurgents, and therefore will be rejected by your side.

It is neither surprising nor unreasonable, that some members of the IGC have condemned your military actions in Fallujah and have opted for negotiations with the insurgents. What is unreasonable however, about the stand of the IGC – which apparently does not have political and military strategists among its members – is the futility, except as a public relations stunt of doubtful value, of these negotiations on the core issues between the belligerents, and the loss of valuable time that could be expended instead by your military commanders in putting, urgently and immediately, a stop to the momentum of the insurgency that threatens to engulf the whole country.

Paul Bremer therefore, has the responsibility to awaken these members of the IGC from their somnambulistic illusions, and spell out to them the high stakes involved, which can only be resolved by the use of major military force by the Coalition. However, despite these negative aspects of the ceasefire in Fallujah, it can be used positively by enabling women and children to evacuate the town, hence saving them from becoming collateral casualties from a future attack by your forces.

The paradigm of Vietnam has shown conclusively that your brave commanders and troops could not win a war that was politically restrained, as to the appropriate kind of weapons used against their enemies, by the hands of “micro-politicians”. In any major critical military engagement, military considerations should have the upper hand over political considerations. Certainly, the overwhelming military response of your forces against the insurgents will have local and international repercussions and will spark a “wildfire” of protests against your Administration. But despite this, the priority of the military over the political must not be modified and must prevail. It is the price that statesmanship must pay.

Moreover, what is of the utmost importance in this conflict is to inflict such a deadly blow on the insurgents in selected towns of Iraq, from which they will never be able to recover. It is not enough to capture or kill them in small numbers, but to do so in the largest number possible. Their capture or killing en masse, will have a powerful psychological effect upon other insurgents in other towns, and will irreparably breakdown their morale and their fighting spirit. To achieve this goal, you Mr. President, as Commander-in- Chief, must direct your commanders on the ground to use the weapons that would inflict this devastating blow on the insurgents. That means that incendiary bombs, and the “daisies cutter” be used as a last resort against the insurgents, whose total defeat is so pivotal to your historic project in Iraq and to the war against global terror.

Sure enough, as I said above, there will be multiple political repercussions on a world scale. But one has to be reminded that wars are won or lost by military actions not by political repercussions. It is a terrible situation to be in for a Commander-in-Chief, but the question for free, open, and civilized societies, is to be or not to be. It is by such tragic and historic burdens that your leadership and Tony Blair’s are weighed with presently. But the mantle of statesmanship falls on Churchillian shoulders.