John Hawkins at RightWingNews takes on allegations that the right is involved in perpetuating a Nazi-style “Stab in the Back” narrative about Iraq by perpetuating a Nazi-style “Stab in the Back” narrative.
“After a frustrating search for a new ‘war czar’ to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” President Bush has chosen the Pentagon’s director of operations, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute.
The choice of Lute is notable because of his previous advocacy for troop withdrawal in Iraq. As Atrios first noted, in August 2005, the Financial Times reported that Lute said the U.S. was planning to draw down troop levels. “You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It’s very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country.”
Lute echoed this notion in January 2006, telling PBS’s Charlie Rose that “we would like to see a smaller, lighter, less prominent U.S. force structure in Iraq.” Lute argued such a move would “undercut the enemy propaganda that in fact we have designs on Iraqi resources or Iraqi bases and so forth.” It would also reflect a lesson “we’ve learned in post-conflict scenarios like…the Balkans” to avoid “the dependency syndrome.”
Watch it (remarks start at 6:00):
UPDATE: VoteVets’ Jon Soltz: “Those of us who have a rudimentary understanding of the military and Constitution know that there is already a war czar. The position has a different name, though — commander in chief, or as the president says, ‘the commander guy.’”
UPDATE II: Noah Shachtman at Danger Room has more.
Transcript: Read more
Norman Podhoretz, “The Case for Bombing Iran.” I need to run out for a bit and don’t quite have the time to get my thoughts on this travesty together. Please have at it.
It’s no surprise to see that James Kirchick, assistant to New Republic editor in chief Martin Peretz, shares his patron’s passion for the cause of keeping Paul Wolfowitz in office at the World Bank. Kirchick says Wolfowitz’s critics are making baseless charges: “As Jon Chait noted in his excellent Netroots article, liberals are increasingly adopting the ‘no enemies on the left’ strategy that the right has used so effectively for decades to police its own ranks . . . Wolfowitz’s critics could care less about the fact that there is little to no evidence of wrongdoing. What they care about is that he was a Republican who was an architect of the Iraq War, which has no bearing on the good job he’s done at the World Bank.”
I’m not sure whether or not Shane Harris’ Government Executive cover story on human resources problems in the intelligence community is readable by those members of the audience who aren’t Atlantic Media Group employees (I’m still figuring things out; i.e., just this morning I learned that the firm includes Government Executive magazine) but it’s got some pretty interesting stuff even for those of us who aren’t government executives. He notes that the Intelligence Community has plenty of entry-level applicants and, therefore, quality early career people, and is also well-supplied with senior managers, but in the middle there’s a gap:
To fill the gap in the meantime, during wartime, the agencies have hired contractors in record numbers. The agencies have outsourced some of the most sensitive functions, including analysis, spying on foreign adversaries, prisoner interrogation and translation services.
Worse, it turns out that the high level of demand for contractors is one of the causes of the gap:
The federal intelligence community has become a place where the millennials learn spying tradecraft, obtain a coveted top-level security clearance and then bolt to contractors for heftier paychecks. This has become so common that intelligence observers now fear it could become the career path of choice – break into the private sector via the government.
The out-contracting of public service has, it seems to me, been a pretty spectacular failure across an astoundingly broad range of different kinds of activities.
Eric Martin speaks of “those seeking to re-animate SADDAM (Sunni Arab-Dominated Dictatorships Against the Mullahs).”
UPDATE: Also see this.