Jay Bullock (3-0)

Drucilla B. Blood (0-1)

Current Battle: Election 2004






Keep dinosaurs extinct, help The Chairman upgrade his PI computer:


Dan Champion (1-0)

Vinod Valloppillil (1-1)


Blitz Battle Winners
Mike Pridemore
(BB #1)
Mustang Bobby
(BB #3)
Michael Spires (BB #4 & #5)
Weepboy (BB #7 & #9)
Pineapple Girl (BB #8)
Former Challengers
Ara Rubyan of E Pluribus Unum
Pineapple Girl of Politics at Pineapple Girl
Ralph Stefan of Ralph's Garage
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Robin Pratt (1-0)






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Saturday, May 15, 2004

The Second Battle

Last week's battle was very close, indeed, a mere ten points separating the Challenger and the Iron Blogger. Sparks flew as two friends battled to a photo finish, but in the end it was Iron Blogger Republican Rosemary Esmay who prevailed by a slim margin. I expect this week's battle will likewise be close, despite the relative 'freshness' of our Challenger. I think it best to let him explain:

My name is Jimmie Bise, Jr and I run the Suburban Sundries Shack web log. Though I'm very new to the game, I have had the great fortune of having one of my posts finish quite well in the Watcher of Weasels Weekly Roundup and my liveblog of the recent House Armed Services Committee was recently linked on The Command Post web log. I'd like to challenge Iron Blogger Jay Bullock. I believe I'll give him an entertaining and spirited debate (and that I'll mop the floor with him!).

Iron Blogger Democrat, Jay Bullock, you have been summoned to battle. May your love of the English language aid you as you represent your party and this blog against your Challenger.

And what shall I have them battle over...?

If memory serves me right, it was 1896 when last the Supreme Court decided that separate could be equal. The civil rights era of the fifties and sixties saw a unanimous Supreme Court rule in Brown vs. The Board of Education that, according to the sixteenth amendment, separate could not be equal, after all. That was fifty years ago, this month, and now a new challenge to the ruling is taking shape in Massachusetts. The topic for this battle is this:

Gay Marriage


Is marriage a sacred institution to be protected by Constitutional means if necessary? Is the theory of civil unions a mere re-hash of 'separate but equal'? What role does the separation of Church and State play in this matter? Are civil unions enough for gays to be recognized under the law, or can only legally recognized marriage grant gay couples true equality? Let us watch as the combatants stake out their claims and do war with words.

Allez debate!
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Friday, May 14, 2004

Open Thread

With our first battle behind us - and ahead of schedule, at that - and our next battle set to be announced on Sunday (a hint - it'll be Iron Blogger Democrat's turn) there is going to be a lull on Saturday, so I offer this open thread.

Discuss the issues of the day, debate amongst yourselves. Or, submit potential topics or Challengers for future Iron Blog battles. We're always open to suggestions.

If you've enjoyed what you've seen so far, we ask that you help us out - you can make a little dent in our operating costs for upgrades via the paypal button above, or you can simply drop a mail to the blogs of your choice and see if they'll give us a plug. Spread the word, so that we may grow and improve in the days to come!

***Update***

I just put up a new version of the Iron Blog Guide, with more detail and a Tips section for aspiring combatants.
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Battle Rumsfeld - Verdict

Our first battle has come to a close, and I confess myself impressed. Both combatants did an admirable job, working with no previous guides or examples to build from, nothing but their own wits and creativity, and for that they should be commended.

Likewise, our Judges, with their in-depth reviews and valuable feedback have served us well, and they, too, should be applauded for their hard, honest work. It is regrettable that Steve S had to step out of this battle, and in his place my scorecard shall be counted. With a total of 400 points maximum for each combatant, only 10 points separated the two in the final count. This was an exceptionally close match.

And now, the verdict.

Two friends and rivals took the field in this, the first ever battle at Iron Blog. Their nerves were showing with jittery openings, but each made a stronger case with each post. Challenger Ara Rubyan made a passionate, multi-pronged case for the dismissal of Rumsfeld, but the Iron Blogger responded with her own strong points and trademark razor tongue. Only one can walk away victorious.

Who takes it? Whose spleen vents supreme?


Iron Blogger, Rosemary Esmay!



Judge Jim D scores it 59 - 55 for the Challenger
Judge Jheka scores it 71 - 64 for the Iron Blogger
Judge Urthshu scores it 52 - 46 for the Iron Blogger
And The Chairman scores it 65 - 64 for the Iron Blogger

A close battle, indeed. Ara Rubyan is invited to battle in a rematch in the future, as this was our first battle and he was at a disadvantage as a result, but future Challengers shall have a shining example in him by which to build from in the battles to come.
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Thursday, May 13, 2004

Battle Rumsfeld - Judges' Comments

The posts are done, the arguments have been closed, the Rumsfeld Battle is OVAH!

And now, for the Judging. On the panel for this battle...

On the Left:

Jim D of Burnt Orange Report and Steve S of Scrubland.

On the Right:

Urthshu of Urthshu and Jheka of Daily Blitz.

(Anyone may post in this thread - combatants may reply to Judges but may not engage each other. Spoofing a Judge will get you banned but quick.)

***UPDATE***

Due to haloscan's 1000 character limit and the verbosity of our panel, our Judges are posting their critiques on their web pages listed above by their names.
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Battle Rumsfeld - Iron Blogger Republican - Closing Argument

During this battle, we have debated many issues in which Donald Rumsfeld is central. We started with the current scandal and moved on to debating whether or not we are losing the war.

The Challenger decided that we are losing the war and has tried to lay the blame at the feet of Rumsfeld. Unfortunately, for the Challenger, he had only a couple of facts that were indisputable. They are:
He (Rumsfeld) was wrong about the specific location of WMD's and "He planned for an invasion of Iraq without planning for an exit from
Iraq."


Still, it's questionable that he didn't plan an exit strategy. It may be as simple as that circumstances changed his plan. Much like what happened in Kosovo.
"The administration does not have an entry and an exit plan," said Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H. "It's a messy, ugly situation, and you clearly need to have some entry-exit plan."

Some in Congress believe the Clinton administration misled them when it said U.S. troops would be in Bosnia for only one year. "We've been there for three years, with no end in sight, and have spent nearly $ 12 billion," Hutchison said.

I bring up Kosovo to illustrate that you really can't plan and conceive of every possible situation. We have only completed our first year and we have more to do to reach goals in Iraq--and the President, by the way, has been telling us for over a year (even from the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln last year, below the "Mission Accomplished" banner) that even though we defeated the Baathest regime in Iraq that we still had a lot more to do, a
great deal more to sacrifice, and would require a lot of perseverence and patience.

Kosovo was merely a small humanitarian mission by comparison, and just in case you've forgotten -- we're still there.

It is my opinion that the demands for Rumsfeld's resignation are nothing more than angry partisanship. The facts of the Abu Graib scandal are already being spun in a ridiculously partisan fashion. So, without spin, here are the facts:
October-December 2003: Many of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib take place during this time period.

October 13-November 6, 2003. Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, provost marshal of the Army, investigates conditions of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib. He finds problems throughout the prisons. Some units, including the 800th Military Police Brigade, did not receive adequate training to guard prisons, he notes. He also says military police (MPs) should not assist in making prisoners more pliable to interrogation, as
their job is to keep prisoners safe.

January 13, 2004: Army Spc. Joseph M. Darby, an MP with the 800th at Abu Ghraib, first reports cases of abuse at the prison.

January 16: Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez orders a criminal investigation into reports of abuse at the prison by members of the brigade. The military also announces the investigation publicly.

January 18: A guard leader and a company commander at the prison are suspended from their duties, and Sanchez admonishes Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the brigade.

January 19: Sanchez orders a separate administrative investigation into the 800th. Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba was appointed to conduct that inquiry on Jan. 31.

Late January-early February: President Bush becomes aware of the charges sometime in this time period, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan, although the spokesman has not pinpointed a date. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tells Bush of the charges, McClellan has said.

February 2: Taguba visits Abu Ghraib. Throughout the month, his team conducts interviews in Iraq and Kuwait.

March 12: Taguba presents his report to his commanders. He finds widespread abuse of prisoners by military police and military intelligence. He also agrees with Ryder that guards should not play any role in the interrogation of prisoners.

March 20: Six soldiers face charges stemming from alleged abuse at the prison. The military announces the beginning of possible court-martial proceedings.

Mid-April: Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asks CBS-TV to delay airing photographs it has obtained of abuse at Abu Ghraib. Myers says the photos would exacerbate an intense period of violence under way in Iraq. CBS delays its program for two weeks.

April 6: Third Army commander Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan approves Taguba's report.

April 28: CBS airs the photos, setting off an international outcry. Bush first learns about these photos from the television report, his aides say.

April 30: The military announces Miller has been put in charge of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq.

May 1: Sanchez approves Taguba's report. Six more soldiers receive administration reprimands; two are relieved of their duties. A seventh receives a lesser reprimand. Other investigations are also under way, including into the military intelligence unit that conducted interrogations at the prison.

May 3: Bush urges Rumsfeld to make sure that any guilty U.S. soldiers are punished for "shameful and appalling acts." Rumsfeld's aides say he has not yet read the Taguba report, although they say he has kept abreast of the allegations of mistreatment.

May 6: Bush apologizes to the Arab world for abuse, says Rumsfeld will stay in his Cabinet.

May 7: Senate and House committees call Rumsfeld to testify. He apologizes for abuses.

Those are the facts. This whole drama is happening because of nothing but photos, because everything else was known and under criminal investigation months ago. And every soldier learns about lawful and unlawful orders in basic training. There is no excuse for the horrific actions of those soldiers. None.

Those criminals aren't victims of "the system." They did it and they liked it. Nobody forced them to smile for the camera. The smiling faces of those soldiers is more than enough to convince me that they weren't ordered to humiliate and abuse those prisoners.

Obviously, the buck has stopped at the President's desk. As soon as allegations of criminal activity were made, criminal investigations were conducted, people were indicted and/or relieved of duty, and the President was informed. As soon as it came to light that horrific photos existed, the President and the Secretary of Defense took full responsibility.

That's called stopping the buck where it belongs.

Now, when a mailman goes on a shooting rampage at the post office, do we fire his boss? No, we don't. Not unless we found out the boss knew it was going to happen and did nothing about it. "You were in charge of the post office and one of your employees went on a shooting rampage--therefore you're responsible for all those deaths?" That's what my distinguished opponent is suggesting "the buck stops here means to him." Excuse me if I
don't believe he really means that, or would hold any Democratic politician to such ludicrous standards.

And what what would the political fallout be if Rumsfeld resigned? First, it will send a signal to terrorists that we are weak and we bend to politcal pressure. Something they always believed to be true. Are they correct?

It will also increase pressure for us to cut and run. Something that we must not do. We have a responsibility to finish what we started. The Iraqis, the American people and our soldiers deserve better than to abandon something we've all worked so hard for due to the inexcusable behavior of a few irresponsible people.


Rosemary, the QOA

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Battle Rumsfeld - Challenger - Closing Argument

Click to hear my closing argument:
Ara3.jpg

Listen to Ara

(Audio by InstantAudio)

I'd like to thank The Chairman for this opportunity to debate the important issues at Iron Blog.

I'd like to thank those of you that commented on the material we posted. It was enlightening.

And, of course, I'd also like to thank Rosemary Esmay (in advance) for being a good sport.

Due to family obligations, I had to request an earlier-than-scheduled end to our debate and Rosemary was kind enough to comply. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused her, as I know it made her already awkward position on the issues all but indefensible.

In Summary:

The progress of our war effort has evolved into a new and perilous phase. For the first time, we are in danger of losing this war. As the distinguished Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham stated on Sunday:

"...if we lose [in Iraq]...if we're unable to bring a democratic form of government in some form to Iraq, then that will be like Dunkirk."

In my statement and rebuttals, I quoted many respected and distinguished civilian and military leaders, pundits and politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, who are sounding the same message.

Rosemary's response?

"For every person you find that ‘thinks’ we are losing, I can counter." Yet she offered nothing.

Our nation stands at the crossroads because of the actions of Donald Rumsfeld. As a result, I urge the President of the United States to relieve him of duty as soon as possible.

In my statement and rebuttals, I detailed the many errors in judgment, planning and implementation that Sec. Rumsfeld performed that caused us to come to this dangerous point in time. I showed how Sec. Rumsfeld ignored the lessons of the Powell Doctrine.

Rosemary’s response? Seeking to discredit Gen. Shinseki's contention that force levels were too low at the start of the war, Rosemary quotes an article that she thinks pronounces the Powell Doctrine dead. Instead, the article's concluding paragraph demolishes Rosemary's point:

"...In Kosovo, NATO did not prevail until it tripled its air armada, bombed for many more weeks than originally planned, and talked convincingly about deploying ground forces. In other words, it succeeded as its military strategy became increasingly muscular and decisive - -or to put it differently, increasingly Powell-like."

I linked to an alternate policy outline for Iraq.

Rosemary’s response? She suggested that it reminded her of an episode of South Park.

nastCartoon.3.gifI explained that Sec. Rumsfeld should be held accountable for his poor performance.

Rosemary’s response? Speaking of the alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib by our enlisted men and women, she says:

"These soldiers aren't children and they aren't stupid, so we shouldn't treat them that way. They must be held accountable for their actions and they will…. I am in NO WAY excusing our reprehensible behavior…anger isn't an excuse to lose our humanity and behave like animals. It's also not reason to make a scapegoat of Rumsfeld.”

Apparently, in "Rosemary's World," authority floats to the top and responsibility is pushed to the bottom.

Perhaps in this administration that is true. But in real life, authority and responsibility go together.

And if you exercise your authority and you fail to achieve the results that you are responsible for, then you should be relieved of duty.

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Ara Rubyan
E Pluribus Unum

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Battle Rumsfeld-Iron Blogger Republican-Second Rebuttal

The Challenger finally says something that I can agree with:
"He is simply a public servant who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career of serving our country. Now, as before, he serves at the pleasure of the President. And what this really means is that he works for you and me."


His interpretation of what that means is where we part company:
Bottom line? No one -- NO ONE -- is indispensable. No one is bigger than the organization. Granted some people are harder to replace than others, but if the organization, any organization, is to survive, then it is incumbent on the owners (that's you and me) to exercise their due diligence for the greater good of the establishment.


If, as the Challenger submits, we treat our country as a company then a few things must be true:


1. We the people are the shareholders. Regardless of income and backgound, we are equal shareholders.

2. Shareholders elect officers to see to the needs of the company. In our case, we vote to elect a President, Senators and Congressional Reps.

3. Our President is in charge of hiring and firing his staff. Certain positions need the approval of our other "elected" officers. [i.e. The Congress]

4. We, the shareholders, rely on our "officers" to make decsions based on the best interest of the company.

5. When we disagree with decisions made by our "officers", we make our voice heard by voting.


The decision to keep or fire Rumsfeld is the President's. If we disagree with decisions made by our President or other "elected" officers, then we fire them by voting. We the people elect our representatives to do the managing. So we should let them do it.

The Challenger presents us with many opinions but not many facts. Opinions don't become facts because we wish it. Much of the Challenger's argument relies on General Shinseki. To those of you unfamiliar with Shinseki, it must look like the Challenger made slam dunk. It wasn't. The General has been grinding his Rumsfeld axe for quite a while.

As Jed Babin explains:
"According to an Army source, shortly after his accession Mr. Rumsfeld walked into the Tank — the vault-like conference room on the fourth floor of the Pentagon in which top-secret matters can be discussed freely — for a meeting with the Clintons' Army chief of staff, General Eric Shinseki. Shinseki is the protégé of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, and as political as his mentor. In that meeting, Shinseki tried to give Big Dog the Don Corleone treatment. Let me run things my way, said Shinseki, and I'll make you look really good on the Hill. But forget about transformation. The Army doesn't need it, and we don't plan to do it. Rumsfeld, to the surprise of his interlocutors, declined the offer they thought he couldn't refuse.

Shinseki should have been fired. That he wasn't is a tribute to the White House's fear that Sen. Inouye — ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee — would take his revenge, with ballistic-missile defense the most likely target. Shinseki stayed and the Army stood fast against change, insisting that its 1950s Cold War culture and configuration should remain. In essence, Shinseki chose irrelevance, taking the Army off the table as a tool of national policy and defense."


The challenger makes an interesting point about the Powell Doctrine. Suggesting that Biden must have been thinking about that doctrine while exercising in hindsight. I doubt that is true because the Clinton Administration & NATO's effort in Kosovo, effectively killed it:
"In that spirit, and mindful of our past mistakes, we offer a skeptical assessment of five of the most popular post-Kosovo truths: that NATO won; that airpower alone was responsible; that the Powell Doctrine of decisive force is dead; that the United Nation's role in such conflicts is marginal at best; and that Europe cannot pull its military weight."


Lets look further at the death of the Powell Doctrine:
"NATO'S success in using limited means to achieve decisive ends has led senior officials in the Clinton administration to welcome the demise of the so-called Powell Doctrine: the notion that the United States should use military force only after exhausting all other alternatives and then only decisively to achieve clearly defined political objectives. NATO'S strategy, one White House official noted, was the "anti-Powell Doctrine." Its success, said another, meant that "you won't see Colin Powell on TV today talking about the Powell Doctrine."


Moving on the Challenger states:
"That's fine; but don't just take my word for it that Rumsfeld's stewardship of the war has led us to a place of looming catastrophe?"


Don't worry my friend, I won't. We are not living in the Land of Oz. Saying the same words over and over and over, will not make them true. For every person you find that "thinks" we are losing, I can counter. Believing something to be true, does not make it true. You need facts, not opinion, to support your claim. You've provided plenty of opinion but little fact.

Regarding the Challenger's comments on prisoner abuse:
"And since you want to talk so much about Abu Ghraib, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who so disdainfully spoke of the Geneva Conventions that it set the tone for what came afterwards."


The insinuation that Rumsfeld's lack of regard for the Geneva Convention set the stage for abuse is ridiculous. Why?

I'll let Lt Smash, who was in Iraq, tell you:
"The maltreatment of prisoners is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Geneva Convention, and basic human decency."


So is the view shared by Congressman Stark and other congressional reps. The view that the soldiers were "poorly trained" and basically victims of the system.

"In Stark’s twisted world, the “real victims” are the enlisted men and women who were “forced” to abuse prisoners by their superiors. Never mind that they were the ones who allegedly committed the actual abuse – they were only “following orders!”"

"To be certain, it would be a terrible miscarriage of justice if any person who had ordered or condoned the abuse of prisoners should escape punishment. But even if they had been directly ordered to humiliate and abuse their prisoners, there is nothing that excuses the actions of those military police whose smiling images have shocked and horrified the civilized world."

"'I was just following orders' is never a valid defense."


These soldiers aren't children and they aren't stupid, so we shouldn't treat them that way. They must be held accountable for their actions and they will.

Rumsfeld wasn't a big fan of the Geneva Convention but neither is our enemy. Do you remember how our soldiers and our civilians get treated when captured? I am in NO WAY excusing our reprehensible behavior. After watching a civilian get his head sawed off while fully aware and screaming, and the enemy receiving the silent approval of the Arab World, I understand his "no quarter given, no quarter received" attitude. I'm angry but anger isn't an excuse to lose our humanity and behave like animals. It's also not reason to make a scapegoat of Rumsfeld.

I was thrilled to see that the Challenger was going to explain his plan to fix the things he believes are going wrong with the war. This is the Challenger's plan:
Step One: "Donald Rumsfeld must go."


That's not much of a plan. Your plan reminds me of the Underpants Gnomes episode of South Park.
The Underpants Gnomes have a three-step business plan, consisting of:


Step 1: Collect underpants
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!


Based on your arguments I see your plan much the same way:

Step 1: Donald Rumsfeld must go
Step 2: ??????????????
Step 3: We win the War


If only it were that easy, I'd be on board with you.


Rosemary Esmay, the Queen of All Evil


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Battle Rumsfeld - Challenger - Second Rebuttal

Click below to hear my rebuttal.
Ara3.jpg

Listen to Ara

(Audio by InstantAudio)


Transcript

Hey Rosemary! I loved your opening line:
When I go to a restaurant it's because I want something special.
As do I. But put yourself in the shoes of the restaurant owner, Rosemary. What if YOU owned that restaurant and your livelihood, your family's survival, depended on the satisfaction of your customers?

What if one of your wait-staff was rude, or incompetent? How many times would you put up with that before you dismissed them?

What if the cook or the chef burned the food? What if all the orders were late? What if the food looked un-appetizing? How long would you wait for things to turn around? How long could you afford to hope things would get better? How many prayers would you say pleading for a better outcome?

If your livelihood depended on it, you would do whatever was necessary to protect your investment. You'd pitch in behind the stove; you'd personally talk to the customers. And if necessary you'd replace the employees that couldn't do the job because it's up to YOU to be a leader.

YOU have to show the way; YOU have to know the way; and YOU have to GO the way, if necessary, to make it happen.

President Bush, the CEO President, is faced with a similar choice. His Defense Secretary has performed in such a way that the entire war that the President pushed for, is in danger of failing. The consequences of such a failure would be monumental. And yet, the Secretary continues on in office. How much longer will it be before the President does what is so long overdue?

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

How much more proof do we need that his performance as Secretary of Defense has been pretty dismal?

Sec. Rumsfeld planned poorly for the war right from the beginning. He insisted that we could win this war with no more than 150 thousand troops. Not only was the folly of that PREDICTABLE, it was acutally PREDICTED at the time. Yet Sec. Rumsfeld ignored the advice of knowledgeable generals as well as the lessons of history.

The result? Our brave military men and women are hanging on, battling a spreading insurgency. We've extended their tours of duty beyond the promised one-year deal. And yet, Sec. Rumsfeld continues to resist calls from civilian authorities and military authorities alike to send in the necessary reinforcements to relieve our brave fighting men. Will he adjust his mindset? I hope so. Will it be too late? I hope not.

Rosemary, you asked me what my plan would be.
If you have a real plan on how to fix things, could you tell us what it would look like? More troops? Less troops? Nicer to civilians? Meaner to civilians? Kill more Iraqis? Kill less? Get more involvement from allies? Go more alone? What is it you want done, Mr. Challenger?
I'll be blunt: I want a new Secretary of Defense. Duh!

Beyond that, you can read more elsewhere about what I would feel comfortable backing at this point.

Make no mistake, however -- our options are fewer and considerably less palatable now than they were one year ago, or even 6 months ago precisely because of this administration's botched war planning and execution.

And as time goes on, we'll have fewer options still, unless we stop and make the necessary corrections NOW.

Step One: Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Now let me make another point here: Mr. Rumsfeld's disastrous record as SecDef only began with his willful low-balling of troop strengths.
  • He was wrong about WMD, saying, "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."

  • He planned for an invasion of Iraq without planning for an exit from Iraq. Senior military officers are reportedly questioning whether we can avoid ongoing casualties in Iraq for years to come.

  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who sent our boys into Iraq without body armor, vehicle armor, and defense systems on helicopters, despite getting every penny that he asked for from Congress.

  • He was wrong about the force levels that were necessary to secure Iraq's infrastructure after the war and to protect the Iraqi people.

  • He was wrong about the true cost of the occupation. Oil revenues have yet to displace the monthly cost to the US Treasury of supporting this war, let alone pay back the $150 billion so far spent by US taxpayers.

  • He was wrong about the ability to create and support a provisional authority that was anything more than a puppet government ill-equipped to stand on its own without massive security guarantees from our army.

  • He was wrong about when our soldiers would be able to come home.

  • He was wrong about the degree of resentment and anger that our occupation has engendered among the Iraqi people.

  • And since you want to talk so much about Abu Ghraib, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who so disdainfully spoke of the Geneva Conventions that it set the tone for what came afterwards. Then, a year ago, as reports of prison mistreatment began to surface in Iraq, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who ignored repeated requests from US Admin Bremer, the International Red Cross and Sec. Powell to do something about it.
Now, Rosemary, you can suggest that this debate is supposed to be only about Abu Ghraib and his culpability; go ahead, be my guest.

But I would suggest that while you are obsessing on this, Iraq is sliding into the abyss and taking us with it.

I will not let that happen.

If I'm in charge, I'm firing Donald Rumsfeld yesterday and replacing him with someone who sees things the way they are and not the way he wishes them to be.

And if his real Boss won't fire Rumsfeld, I'll be glad to fire Rumsfeld's Boss in November.

P.S. There is more than meets the eye with your "brilliant" link to Fred Kaplan : Kaplan wrote the article 10 months ago; in case you haven't noticed, a lot has changed since then. But never mind that -- here's what Kaplan said back then about the brilliant Rumsfeld plan:
Rumsfeld assumed that a new and friendly regime would be quickly installed, that all but the most unsavory remnants of Saddam's government would be co-opted, and that, faced with utter defeat, the surviving Iraqi fighters would surrender, assimilate, or, in the case of the undaunted few, be hunted down and killed.

Alas (and here's where the obtuse part comes in), his anointed new leader, Ahmad Chalabi, turned out to be—as many other officials had warned—not much different from puppet leaders of the past; he'd oversold his political support and, even more, the competence of his militia, the "Free Iraqi Fighters." And so, the U.S. occupation authorities found themselves out on a limb.
Ara Rubyan
E Pluribus Unum

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Battle Rumsfeld-Iron Blogger Republican-First Rebuttal

When I go to a restaurant it's because I want something special. A good piece of meat, something to really sink my teeth into. When I order steak, I don't want it buried under buckets of gravy. Cooks use thick gravies to camouflage inferior cuts of meat.

The Challenger has attempted to use verbal gravy to disguise the fact that, despite the lovely presentation, he has presented us with very little "meat" and the meat he gave us was bland and pointless. It is now my job to hose off that gelatinous mess, find his point and rebutt it. Let's see if I can.

The Challenger begins by complaining of bitter partisanship. An odd complaint because bitter partisanship is a staple in the Challenger's cupboard. He uses his complaint as an excuse for the defiency of his argument. Which is nice a thing to do, as it saves me the trouble of looking further for any merit.

Moving on.

Now we have the switch and bait. Since the Challenger, a man of integrity, cannot clearly demonstrate Rumsfeld's culpability in the Abu Gharib scandal, he has changed the subject. He's got nothing and he's trying by virtue of length to convince us otherwise. Never mind that this debate is about the Abu Gharib scandal, the Challenger has decided that he has a better topic to debate.

His new topic is:
"How the tenure of Don Rumsfeld brought the US to the brink of defeat in Iraq and what needs to be done about it."


He then poses these questions:
"Are we in danger of losing the war? And if so, why? And what part did Donald Rumsfeld play in that? And if he played an integral part in bringing us here to this dismal point, what should be done about it?


First question: "Are we in danger of losing the war?"

Three quotes that all agree and the Challenger sums up by stating "we're winning the battle but losing the war". I wonder if I can do better with the same link. Here we go:
The top U.S. commander in the war also said he strongly disagrees with the view that the United States is heading toward defeat in Iraq. "We are not losing, militarily," Army Gen. John Abizaid said in an interview Friday. He said that the U.S. military is winning tactically. But he stopped short of being as positive about the overall trend. Rather, he said, "strategically, I think there are opportunities."


In other words, we're doing just fine but we aren't perfect so I don't want to get cocky.

Here's another:
I am sure that the view from Washington is much worse than it appears on the ground here in Baqubah," said Army Col. Dana J.H. Pittard, commander of a 1st Infantry Division brigade based in that city about 40 miles north of Baghdad. "I do not think that we are losing, but we will lose if we are not careful."


In other words, we're doing just fine but we aren't perfect so I don't want to get cocky.

And here:
Army Lt. Col. John Kem, a battalion commander in Baghdad, said that the events of the past two months -- first the eruption of a Shiite insurgency, followed by the detainee abuse scandal -- "certainly made things harder," but he said he doubted they would have much effect on the long-term future of Iraq.


In other words, things aren't great but we ain't losing.

Next question: "How and why did this happen?"

Short answer from the Challenger: We need more troops. The Challenger then remembers the topic and name drops:
"Abu Gharib is relevant here because it is symptomatic of the same problem."


If an overcrowded prison is your proof that we are losing the war...
Then I guess it's a good thing we decided against invading California.

Next question: "And what was Sec. Rumsfeld's role in it?"

The Challenger said, "This war will be remembered as Don Rumsfeld's legacy."

I agree. We went to war, deposed a dictator and occupied Iraq in only a few short weeks. The plan, according to Fred Kaplan, was brilliant:
In the brilliant part, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his military commanders decided that U.S. troops would dash straight to Baghdad, the main target of the offensive—bypassing, rather than slugging it out with, as many pockets of resistance as possible along the way. This decision surprised the Iraqi army, sowed confusion within their ranks, accelerated their defeat, and minimized casualties (certainly on the U.S. side, probably on the Iraqi side, too).


It was not without loss of life but it was still brilliant. There have been very few bloodless wars that I can recall. We have our own humanity to blame for the losses we took; indeed, we made herculean efforts to avoid civilian casualities, many times at our own expense.

We could have gone to war and just flattened neighborhoods without batting an eye.

Look at Falluja. If we were only concerned for the welfare of our soldiers and not the innocent civilians, a few Daisey Cutters would have ended the trouble there. We could have just paved it over and been done with it.

I really like Joe Biden. His remarks prove one thing that everyone already knows, hindsight is 20/20. Regardless, we have no proof that his after the fact "plan" would have worked.

Last question: "What should be done about it?"

The Challenger sums up by saying that the Abu Gharib scandal is bad and Rumsfeld must go.

I'd like to take the opportunity, at this time, to welcome the Challenger back to the original topic.

The Challenger submits that we are winning the battles, but losing the war. So we should get rid of Rumsfeld. Not much of a solution.

The Challenger then pulls a Pelosi:
If Rumsfeld is implicated, we'll know soon enough. Again, that's beside the point: Rumsfeld should be asked to leave because his entire record of planning and implementation of the Iraq war has led us to the brink of defeat.


Notice how he insinuates that Rumsfeld may be implicated in wrongdoing. Then quickly retreats and says that the possible "wrongdoing" is beside the point.

Actually, it is exactly the point. If Rumsfeld is implicated in any wrongdoing then this debate is over. I'll stand in line with you to demand his head.

Finally, the Challenger sums up [Whew]:
The war is more than just Don Rumsfeld. If someone more competent replaces him, then who's to say we're worse off? Yes, finally, resignation might damage Don Rumsfeld's legacy. He has served his country well. So we, in turn, should be willing to say, "Thank you Mr. Secretary, for your service. We'll take it from here."


Indeed. If someone more competent replaces him, we wouldn't be worse off. That is if that theoretical "War God" could get through Committee without a filibuster. What would happen to our war effort if we had no Sec. of Defense? I certainly don't know but it won't be an improvement.

Mr. Challenger, Rumsfeld has indeed served our country well and I agree that he has. Could you please stop trying to fire him? If you have a real plan on how to fix things, could you tell us what it would look like? More troops? Less troops? Nicer to civilians? Meaner to civilians? Kill more Iraqis? Kill less? Get more involvement from allies? Go more alone? What is it you want done, Mr. Challenger? So far I see nothing to your arguments except this: "Iraq has not been handled perfectly. Also something bad happened to the prisoners. It's all Rumsfeld's fault, because... because things are going bad, and bad things happened to prisoners."

A good meal has more than an appetitzer and a dessert. Unfortunately, this is all the Challenger has given us: appetizers and a dessert.

Rosemary Esmay, the Queen of All Evil
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Battle Rumsfeld - Challenger - First Rebuttal

Click below to hear my rebuttal.
Ara3.jpg

Listen to Ara

(Audio by InstantAudio)

Transcript

No, Rosemary, I don't want to burn Sec. Rumsfeld at the stake as a witch, nor do I want to administer another spanking in addition to the one you say he's already received. If you think that's what I want, well, I'm sorry.

The fact is, Donald Rumsfeld is not a god, nor is he a devil. He is simply a public servant who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career of serving our country. Now, as before, he serves at the pleasure of the President. And what this really means is that he works for you and me.

Now, I have a particular perspective on this. If you'll indulge me for a moment, I'd like to tell you about it.

At various times in my career, I've been a business owner, executive, manager and employee. I've learned the importance of being accountable for the job you are entrusted to perform. And if you can't do the job, then you must be removed in favor of someone who can get the job done.

Bottom line? No one -- NO ONE -- is indispensable. No one is bigger than the organization. Granted some people are harder to replace than others, but if the organization, any organization, is to survive, then it is incumbent on the owners (that's you and me) to exercise their due diligence for the greater good of the establishment.

It is this standard that brings me to the reluctant conclusion that Sec. Rumsfeld should be relieved of duty.

Some of you might be asking: What was his crime?

He committed no crime greater than failing to get the job done. And because the stakes are so high and the result so crucial, he must do the right thing and resign or be fired.

Some may say, "War is uncertain...all plans go out the window when the shooting starts...intelligence is open to interpretation...mistakes are made..." and so forth and so on. And these are all good and valid points. War IS uncertain. Events DO have a way of getting away from you. Intelligence CAN turn out to be smoke and mirrors. And perhaps most important of all, public opinion CAN turn against you, putting your own position of authority in jeopardy.

Given the high level of authority Sec. Rumsfeld has enjoyed during his distinguished career, one must wonder if he had learned these lessons. But whether he did or not, those around him counseled him along those lines.

In just one such example, General Shinseki advocated for a force perhaps double the size of the one we went in with. Paul Wolfowitz, Sec. Rumsfeld’s deputy, dismissed this counsel. It doesn’t take much to conclude that Sec. Rumsfeld concurred with Wolfowitz.

Some said that Gen. Shinseki's suggested troop levels were greater than all the available US troops at the time. Yet even can now be seen as a warning sign that perhaps the war was ill-planned. In any case, events have proven that Shinsecki was more right than Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld combined.

Of course the most famous bit of ignored advice was not even offered by an individual so much as a set of guidelines supposedly authored by Sec. Rumsfeld’s Cabinet colleague, Sec. Of State Colin Powell. The Powell Doctrine states:
  • Military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target;
  • The force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy;
  • There must be strong support for the campaign by the general public;
  • And there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.
Almost every one of the Powell Doctrine’s points was ignored or papered over, with one exception: when the war with Iraq was launched it was supported strongly by the public.

But now, one year later, even that is now gone.

Perhaps thinking of the Powell Doctrine Sen. Biden said, "Had we gone down through northern Iraq with the 4th ID, there would be no Sunni Triangle. Had we had more troops in there from the beginning, as Shinsecki suggested, there would not have been the looting. Had the troops been there, they would have had tons and tons of more weapons." And Senator Biden isn't alone in making this observation.

Some would say, "Woulda, coulda, shoulda." Some would contend that "Saddam was Saddam," meaning that we didn't have the luxury or the ability to raise our own troop levels to the necessary point fast enough. Saddam was a gathering threat, one that might attack us or our allies with chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons. It's beyond the scope of this rebuttal to start a debate on existence of WMD. So let's stipulate that Sec. Rumsfeld surveyed ALL the risks and then launched the war using his best judgement.

Unfortunately his judgement wasn't good enough to prevent us from having come here, to this precarious point, in danger of losing the war.

Now, Rosemary, I know you believe that I'm a "Bush-basher." Maybe some of you reading this are going to discount my words simply because I am challenging the popular Queen of All Evil herself.

That's fine; but don't just take my word for it that Rumsfeld's stewardship of the war has led us to a place of looming catastrophe?

Listen to any number of respected conservatives...Listen to David Brooks:
Believe me, we've got even bigger problems than whether Rumsfeld keeps his job. We've got the problem of defining America's role in the world from here on out, because we are certainly not going to put ourselves through another year like this anytime soon. No matter how Iraq turns out, no president in the near future is going to want to send American troops into any global hot spot. This experience has been too searing.
And that is too bad because there are heinous, brutal terrorists out there. We need to apply every ounce of our minds and our machines to crush them.

But even after all that, one must wonder if we are prepared for what comes next. Listen to George Will:
This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and, having thought, to have second thoughts....Being steadfast in defense of carefully considered convictions is a virtue. Being blankly incapable of distinguishing cherished hopes from disappointing facts, or of reassessing comforting doctrines in face of contrary evidence, is a crippling political vice.
Andrew Sullivan is also pretty glum:
The one anti-war argument that, in retrospect, I did not take seriously enough was a simple one. It was that this war was noble and defensible but that this administration was simply too incompetent and arrogant to carry it out effectively. I dismissed this as facile Bush-bashing at the time. I was wrong.

I sensed the hubris of this administration after the fall of Baghdad, but I didn't sense how they would grotesquely under-man the post-war occupation, bungle the maintenance of security, short-change an absolutely vital mission, dismiss constructive criticism, ignore even their allies (like the Brits), and fail to shift swiftly enough when events spun out of control.
Fareed Zakaria:
On almost every issue involving postwar Iraq—troop strength, international support, the credibility of exiles, de-Baathification, handling Ayatollah Ali Sistani—Washington's assumptions and policies have been wrong. By now most have been reversed, often too late to have much effect. This strange combination of arrogance and incompetence has not only destroyed the hopes for a new Iraq. It has had the much broader effect of turning the United States into an international outlaw in the eyes of much of the world.
Lastly, Robert Kagan and William Kristol, writing in the Weekly Standard:
The Bush administration seems not to recognize how widespread, and how bipartisan, is the view that Iraq is already lost or on the verge of being lost. The administration therefore may not appreciate how close the whole nation is to tipping decisively against the war.
Will the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld help or hurt the situation? Many have pointed out that there is no way that the Democrats in Congress would confirm a new Secretary of Defense during a campaign season; and if they did, there is no way that this new Secretary would have the ability to get up to speed. And if he could get up to speed there is no way he could match the brillance and conviviality of Donald Rumsfeld.

Whether any of that is true or not, I cannot predict. But I do know that these are not adequate reasons to do nothing at all. Because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. And the past behavior of Donald Rumsfeld has brought us to the edge of defeat in Iraq.

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Ara Rubyan
E Pluribus Unum
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And Now, A Word From The Chairman

Our first battle is off to a great start, with both combatants offering interesting reads on their positions. Our site is growing in popularity - we're averaging 50 unique visits an hour - and things are moving along rather well.

I wanted to remind our readers and, more specifically, those making comments, that this is a site for constructive debate and critique. You can say some pretty outrageous things without fear of censorship or banning, but they are a few rules on posting to the comments.

First, spoofing (pretending to be/posting in the name of) a Judge will get you a quick, non-refundable ban. We have 12 Judges, 4 of which are active for any given battle, and it is important that they not be tampered with.

Second, critiquing a combatant's post is a good part of the reason why we're all here. Flaming/insulting/snarking them is not. Combatants are not allowed to post in the comments of their battles, so they will not reply to your thoughts publicly, but it is safe to assume they are reading (and for the most part, I hear, enjoying) them. We all appreciate your comments, but please, keep them constructive and polite. Violating this request will result in the deletion of your comment and a warning. Repeat offenders will be banned from comments. There are plenty of other places you can troll.

Third, if you strongly disagree with an Iron Blogger, by all means, Challenge them! After this battle we have 2 more battles lined up, but need more Challengers beyond that. Drop me an email.

Fourth, we likewise still need 2 Left Judge and 2 Right Judges. Send me an email if you're interested.

We hope you are enjoying the site and thank you for your interest. Please feel free to spread the word.

The Chairman

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Monday, May 10, 2004

Battle Rumsfeld - Challenger - Opening Argument

Whether or not Donald Rumsfeld leaves the Cabinet is almost beside the point now. This is because the whole Abu Ghraib affair has gone past that tipping point so typical in Bush Administration scandal dynamics. You know, that point where things have become so totally partisan and so totally stalemated that no one is even listening to each other anymore.

That's too bad because we need to discuss the real issue at hand: how the tenure of Don Rumsfeld brought the US to the brink of defeat in Iraq and what needs to be done about it.

Think I'm exaggerating about the situation in Iraq? Well, don't take my word for it; listen to Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) wake-up call:
"...if we lose [in Iraq], I'll just lay it on the line the best I can--if we're unable to bring a democratic form of government in some form to Iraq, then that will be like Dunkirk."
Make no mistake: Graham isn't talking about Abu Ghraib. He's talking about a war effort gone wrong, a military campaign balancing on a knife's edge between success and disaster; he's talking about an Iraq that is in danger of sliding into protracted chaos.

Are we in danger of losing the war? And if so, why? And what part did Donald Rumsfeld play in that? And if he played an integral part in bringing us here to this dismal point, what should be done about it?

Let's take the questions in order.

  1. Are we in danger of losing the war?

    In Sunday's Washington Post, Thomas E. Ricks writes this:
    Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the year in western Iraq, said he believes that at the tactical level at which fighting occurs, the U.S. military is still winning. But when asked whether he believes the United States is losing, he said, "I think strategically, we are."
    In other words, we're winning the battle but losing the war.
    Army Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first director of strategic planning for the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad, said he agrees with that view and noted that a pattern of winning battles while losing a war characterized the U.S. failure in Vietnam. "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in our policy, we will lose strategically," he said in an interview Friday.
    There's more:
    A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is already on the road to defeat. 'The American people may not stand for it - and they should not.'
    It isn't just the military that is going through a sober re-assessment of our position in Iraq. Public opinion on progress and worthiness of this war is at an all-time low.

    Many would scoff at polls; but as history (and the Powell Doctrine) instructs us, "there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public," otherwise we risk failure and the waste of everything good we've achieved up to now.

    In other words, we are in danger of the greatest loss of all -- the loss of the peoples' faith in their government. If we lose that, then the war truly is lost.

  2. How and why did this happen?

    Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.) respected member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee had this to say on Sunday:
    The administration mounted a very effective force and team that got us to Baghdad, but the criticism now is they didn't have enough troops, as many in the military were telling them, to maintain the peace once we got there.
    Abu Ghraib is relevant here because it is symptomatic of the same problem.

    Sen. Biden again:
    [In Guantanamo]... we had 800 guards and 600 prisoners. In Iraq, we have thousands of prisoners with only a few hundred guards.
    This isn't anything new. The Rand Corporation, General Shinsecki, numerous major studies all said before the war that we needed a ratio of 40- or 50- to one, similar to what we had in Germany, Kosovo, even as recent as Afghanistan.

    But we didn't do that in Iraq.

  3. And what was Sec. Rumsfeld's role in it?

    This war will be remembered as Don Rumsfeld's legacy. Rumsfeld is the chief architect and main advocate for a war that would be fought with a very lean fighting force.

    He dismissed the advice of his generals, who offered it well in advance of the start of the war, who said we needed a force double the size of the one that we sent.

    Yet Rumsfeld insisted and believed we could do it with fewer troops, despite what the Powell Doctrine proved in Gulf War I. In fact, the entire Iraq War seemed determined to refute almost everything in the Powell Doctrine:
    Essentially, the Doctrine expresses that military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target; the force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.
    Listen to Sen. Biden again:
    Had we gone down through northern Iraq with the 4th ID, there would be no Sunni Triangle. Had we had more troops in there from the beginning, as Shinsecki suggested, there would not have been the looting. Had the troops been there, they would have had tons and tons of more weapons.

  4. What should be done about it?

    The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Times today carries an editorial that states:
    Gen. Myers, Sec. Rumsfeld and their staffs failed to recognize the impact the scandal would not only have in the US, but around the world. On the battlefield, Myers and Rumsfeld's errors would be called a lack of situational awareness -- a failure that amounts to professional negligence. This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability is essential, even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.
    Rumsfeld's recommendations have been bad right from the start. And we're all paying the price for that in blood and treasure.

    Rumsfeld must go.

Many administration apologists would argue that Rumsfeld is being unfairly held accountable; Clinton Taylor writes in the National Review that the people responsible for the following events were not held similarly accountable:

· Ruby Ridge
· Waco
· The first World Trade Center bombing
· Khobar Towers bombing
· attack on the USS Cole
· failure to find Iraq's WMDs
· intelligence failures that led to 9/11

I suppose you could add the Oklahoma City bombing to the list too. But Taylor misses the point: None of these events was a war of choice.

Oddly enough, Taylor makes another point:
The connection between the abuse of prisoners and Rumsfeld's leadership is so attenuated as to be farcical. It's like calling for Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's resignation because the baggage handlers at Denver stole your golf clubs.
Cute. Except it, again, misses the point: Rumsfeld should be relieved of duty (not for Abu Ghraib alone) but for his bungling of the war plan "by failing to plan adequately for the postwar period and not committing enough troops to the occupation."

Taylor has an answer for that too:
The jury is still out on this question; I tend to believe that no amount of troops is adequate to control the re-supply and reinforcement of terrorists from Iran and Syria and that any force would be stretched thin.
No amount of troops is adequate? That hardly fills one with confidence in Rumsfeld's original judgment and planning ability.

Another argument against Rumsfeld's ouster is that it won't satisfy anyone; in fact it will only whet the appetite of our enemies. Taylor asserts his point by mocking a recent Times editorial:
American success in Iraq (the Times asserts with a straight face) is far more important than one man's career. The world is waiting now for a sign that President Bush understands the seriousness of what has happened...Mr. Bush should start showing the state of his own heart by demanding the resignation of his secretary of defense.
Taylor continues:
Let the world wait. The notion that we should fire a competent and popular official on trumped-up charges to placate Brussels's or Khartoum's moral outrage is not only craven, it's useless.
Competent and popular?

Here's the thing: Rumsfeld's popularity might buy him a lifetime of public speaking gigs at $100 thousand a pop; his competence is another matter altogether.

David Frum has a similar list of reasons NOT to fire Don Rumsfeld:
Resignation would be utterly unjustified. The abuses in Abu Ghraib were in no way Donald Rumsfeld's fault.
Whether it is or not, it remains to be seen. According to Senator Hagel, there are upwards of 30 ongoing investigations right now into the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

If Rumsfeld is implicated, we'll know soon enough.

Again, that's beside the point: Rumsfeld should be asked to leave because his entire record of planning and implementation of the Iraq war has led us to the brink of defeat.

Frum again:
Resignation would be pointless. The damage done by the Abu Ghraib pictures is irretrievable. The president could fire his entire cabinet, without changing a single mind in the Arab world - or for that matter Europe - about what happened and why.
Fire his entire Cabinet? Not a bad idea. But -- again! -- it isn't just about Abu Ghraib. Rumsfeld didn't get the war itself right.And when your performance is that bad, you are relieved of duty.

Frum:
Resignation would deprive the country of the services of one of the greatest secretaries of defense the United States has ever had. As Lincoln said when he was pressed to fire Ulysses Grant: We can't spare this man - he fights!
Grant fought all right. And he won. Will history judge Rumsfeld in the same way?

Frum:
Resignation would actively damage the war effort.
Nonsense. The war is more than just Don Rumsfeld. If someone more competent replaces him, then who's to say we're worse off?

Yes, finally, resignation might damage Don Rumsfeld's legacy. He has served his country well. So we, in turn, should be willing to say, "Thank you Mr. Secretary, for your service. We'll take it from here."

Rumsfeld, in the end can take heart from this sage advice:
Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the President and do wonders for your performance.
Pretty good advice from a guy who would know: Donald Rumsfeld himself.

Ara Rubyan, Challenger

(Anyone may post in the comments. Combatants, save the arguments for the battle, though. Judges should also refrain from critique/debate.)

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Battle Rumsfeld - Iron Blogger Republican - Opening Argument

Should Rumsfeld resign? Should Bush fire him? Should we just put him on a pyre and BURN HIM? Let's evaluate the situation, shall we?

We are dealing with a situation that the Defense Department mentioned back in January. They announced, on January 16, 2004, that they had accusations of abuse occuring and that they were investigating the matter. Two days later, a guard leader and a company commander at the prison are suspended from their duties. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez admonishes brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski.

They were handling the investigation like any other military investigation -- within the chain of command. The President was informed of the allegations and the internal investigation sometime between January and February. The military was investigating and charging the culpable parties. They were doing their job and they were doing it swiftly. They certainly didn't want this dragged out in public. These acts are a horrible smear on our country and our military. The acts of a few have systematically slandered our country and endangered our military.

Now we have the Democrats calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. My favorite screed comes from the Leona Helmsley of Congress, Nancy Pelosi.
"Secretary Rumsfeld has known about these incidents for months and has intentionally withheld them from the Congress,'' she said. "He must be held responsible for any coverup. Secretary Rumsfeld says that he still has not read the report into the abuses, confirming that stopping them is simply not a top priority for him. The sad fact is that the abuses could have been prevented with proper leadership at the top of the chain of command. "He should resign.''

Where do I begin? I'll start with the obvious points. The first thing that jumps out is her use of the weasel words "he must be held responsible for ANY coverup." She knows there's no coverup, which is why she doesn't say there's been one. She merely insinuates it in a way that lets her deny she's made the insinuation. Cheap partisan-hack trickery. Anyone that actually watched the military briefings knew that they were investigating abuse charges in Abu Ghraib prison. If there was a cover up, they wouldn't have announced the investigation in January, removed people from command and charged those that did the abusing. It is not Rummie's job to interefere in a military investigation and she knows it. Other than cheap insinuations, she never actually says what Rumsfeld did wrong. It makes me wonder if her last face lift was pulled so tight that it caused undue pressure on her cerebrum.

I'm not sure how she figures that Donald Rumsfeld could have prevented the abuse. I look forward to her explanation. Perhaps after the DNC hands out the next set of talking points, she may actually have one.

Was there covering it up? No. It was a scandal but the investigations prove that there was no cover up. His biggest failure was being unable to foresee and warn the president of the danger lurking when he informed him of the January investigation. He failed to put the nation's reputation ahead of the regulation prohibiting command influence in criminal investigations, which protects the accused in a court-martial. Not necessarily a bad thing. So really Rumsfeld's only mistake was not saying anything about the photos sooner.

That's it. He's proven that clairvoyance isn't his strong suit. If you look around, you'll see that none of his critics point to any specific act of wrongdoing that Rumsfeld committed. They just want to "get him" and they don't care how. Getting Rumsfeld, in their mind, is getting Bush. One thing that living in a post 9/11 world hasn't changed is the rabid desire to get Bush. They can't keep counting those votes in Florida, so this is the next best thing. They want their payback and they won't let a little thing like facts stand in their way.

Should Rummy resign? No. Absolutely not. He stood up and took his spanking like a man. He apologized and he accepted responsibility for what happened. According to many of my liberal friends, saying that you accept responsibility is good enough. Just like it was good enough for Janet Reno and her many, many failures. Partisan hacks will say that, in a post 9/11 world, admitting to being human and accepting responsibility isn't good enough. I disagree. Taking responsibilty and working to correct your mistake has always been good enough. Living in a post-9/11 world shouldn't change our basic American principles.

Should he be fired? Firing him is Bush's option and Bush opted not to do it. I wouldn't have either. It would be irresponsible for Bush to fire a proven, competent leader simply over some photographs. Because that's all this is about: photographs. Not the crime itself, just the fact that we didn't realize photos of it were available until now.

We can repair our reputation by doing what we have been doing, investigating and prosecuting the criminals that committed these acts. There is no reason to make Rumsfeld a scapegoat. It goes against our values to punish someone for the misdeeds of another. Also, sacking Rummy would be nothing more than an attempt to appease the anti-war critics. So it becomes pointless. The carping critics will just move on to the next thing, grasping at straws to divide our nation and push their "cut and run" agenda. We've got more important things to do than pacify a bunch of Bush-hating hippies.

We've got a war to run and a peace to win and we need Donald Rumsfeld to do it.


Rosemary Esmay, the Queen of All Evil!

(Anyone may post in the comments. Combatants, save the arguments for the battle, though. Judges should also refrain from critique/debate.)

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Sunday, May 09, 2004

The First Battle!

If memory serves me right, E Pluribus Unum was the original motto of the thirteen colonies as they formed our Union. Differing views on what it means abound, but some of the more common interpretations are "From Many, One" and "The Many United". Fitting that this first motto is also the name of the blog of our first Challenger, Ara Rubyan.

Ara first approached me with his Challenge, and offered his reasons as this:

"I want to be a combatant at Iron Blog and I'd like to specifically challenge Rosemary Esmay. Go ahead and ask her if she thinks this would be entertaining to your readers. She'll tell you the truth.Of course, she might decline facing me in an open challenge because she knows I'll eat her lunch, once again, while everyone watches in amazement. I'm just saying."

Strong words, indeed.

Iron Blogger Republican, Rosemary Esmay, I summon you to the battlefield to represent your party and this blog against your Challenger!

I wish for the topics at Iron Blog to be timely, important, relevant to our national discourse. In recent days, one topic has dominated our news and blogs. The abuse at Abu Ghraib has been debated back and forth - the implications, the repercussions, the abuses themselves and the servicemen and women who committed them. But now, the call for answers has risen to the very top of the Defense Department and hearings have been held.

And now, I reveal the Theme Topic of this, the first ever battle at Iron Blog:

Battle Rumsfeld!

Bloggers, you have until 11:59pm PST Monday to post your Opening Arguments. May your skills of logic and reason serve you well in the battle to come.

Allez debate!

(Anyone BUT the combatants and 4 active Judges may post in the comments.)

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Blitz Battle Winners
Chris in NH (BB #2)
Big Dan (BB #6)
Former Challengers
Jimmie Bisse Jr. of The Sundries Shack
Chris of World Inquiry
Dean Esmay of Dean's World
Big Dan of God In The Machine
Owen of Boots and Sabers
Frank LoPinto of Cool Blue Blog
Bryan S of Arguing With Signposts
Ralph Stefan of Ralph's Garage
Former Iron Bloggers
Rosemary Esmay (2-1)


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