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Perfection. Absolute Perfection. 
29th-Apr-2007 11:03 am
Pro Life
Former Lt. General declares Bush 'seems to have gone AWOL'

The following, delivered as the Democrats' weekly radio address Saturday and sent out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), was given by retired Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army.
"Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.

"I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.

"In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.

"Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

"To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is 'absent without leave.' He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

"Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however, are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

"Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President's management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

"The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests.

"But it has served Iran's interest by revenging Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran's influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda's interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible.

"We cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did.

"A wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy, not just marginally, but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed.

"No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the paralysis that now confronts us. Withdrawal is the pre-condition for winning support from countries in Europe that have stood aside and other major powers including India, China, Japan, Russia.

"It will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other countries on Iraq's borders, making them far more likely to take seriously new U.S. approaches, not just to Iraq, but to restoring regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has caused.

"The bill that Congress approved this week, with bipartisan support, setting schedules for withdrawal, provides the President an opportunity to begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure of victory, not some impossible outcome.

"I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the bill the Congress has sent him. I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage, and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.

"This is retired General Odom. Thank you for listening."
29th-Apr-2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
"The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests."

YES. Dammit. (The only thing I would've added is to insert "or protected" after "served" in there.)

And I will use my "German" avatar in solidarity with those Germans in the 1930s who never supported what Hitler was doing in their name and that of their homeland. I know they had to exist; surely not everyone there thought it was peachy-keen, any more than every American has always supported Chimpenfuhrer's brutal empire-building plans.
29th-Apr-2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
And now Condi Rice is saying that Shrub will veto any war funding supplemental that contains "benchmarks" for the Iraqis! Yes, this IS a game of fucking tit-for-tat...Bush has never had any idea of what he was doing there to begin with, let alone the consequences of it...and if he DID, then HE DID NOT GIVE A RAT'S ASS ABOUT IT. He's behaving like a petulant little child who never got his ass paddling by Old George or Barbara when he so richly needed it...and I personally think that the only thing that will help him now is having his ass paddled like an old rug--so hard that it will make a hymn come to his lips.

Of course, millions of us saw this in him long before the stolen election of 2000...and we are paying for our lack of foresight, where some voted for a "Christian" president and others voted for a formerly-respected consumer advocate just to "send a message". Our votes have consequences, as we now well know...single-issue voting and "message" voting have put us in the situation we are now finding ourselves, and those who did that voting have to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the monster they've created...and for helping to fix the severe damage they've wrought.
29th-Apr-2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
If this guy's from the US Army, why is there a USMC logo in the background?

Joking aside, his evaluation of the President being AWOL does match what I've read previously: the President is alone in a tiny world full of his delusions and empty of anyone who could contradict him. It's dangerous for a president to be surrounded by blind loyalty and having any sort of negative feedback screened.

I'm not so sure about whether it'll change Iranian or Syrian outlooks on the US, especially positively. They may start up insurgencies in other countries just to draw us out, whittle us down, they send us back home, just to annoy the living shit out of us. I'm pretty much speaking out of my ass here, but I still don't get that part.
30th-Apr-2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
That's incredibly well outlined, & I'm delighted to hear it coming from someone with the Lt. General's credentials.
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