Saturday, February 25, 2006

Unqualified Offerings Is Shrill

We welcome Jim Henley, Grand Heresiarch and High Tentacled One of the Ancient, Occult, and Hermetic Order of the Shrill:

Ia Henley!! Ia Fhtagn!!: Outraged Moderate got hold of Steven Cambone’s handwritten notes of his meeting with Donald Rumsfeld from the afternoon of September 11, 2001. The notes confirm CBS News’ report of September 4, 2002 that, at that meeting, Rumsfeld was already thinking of using the atrocities as an excuse to go to war with Iraq. It’s important to stress: Rumsfeld is not wondering if Iraq did it; he’s wondering if it can look enough like Iraq did it to pin the blame there.

It can’t be stressed enough: the Pentagon was aflame; there was smoke pouring from a hole in the Pennsylvania fields and the World Trade Center complex was belching its ghastly cloud, and already our rulers were thinking not, who is to blame? but what can we get away with? What will the still-bubbling fat of the murdered serve to cook?

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Impeach Donald Rumsfeld. Do it now.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Francis Fukuyama is Shrill and Unbalanced?

Strange times: Francis Fukuyama, intellectual Godfather to the Neoconservative movement, appears to be writing obituary notices for the Bush doctrine. Next he'll be howling at the moon, having been driven to shrill unholy madness by the sheer disconnection from reality of the George W. Bush administration.

The so-called Bush Doctrine that set the framework for the administration's first term is now in shambles. The doctrine (elaborated, among other places, in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States) argued that, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, America would have to launch periodic preventive wars to defend itself against rogue states and terrorists with weapons of mass destruction; that it would do this alone, if necessary; and that it would work to democratize the greater Middle East as a long-term solution to the terrorist problem. But successful pre-emption depends on the ability to predict the future accurately and on good intelligence, which was not forthcoming, while America's perceived unilateralism has isolated it as never before.


This overoptimism about postwar transitions to democracy helps explain the Bush administration's incomprehensible failure to plan adequately for the insurgency that subsequently emerged in Iraq. The war's supporters seemed to think that democracy was a kind of default condition to which societies reverted once the heavy lifting of coercive regime change occurred, rather than a long-term process of institution-building and reform. While they now assert that they knew all along that the democratic transformation of Iraq would be long and hard, they were clearly taken by surprise.


It is hard to read these lines without irony in the wake of the global reaction to the Iraq war, which succeeded in uniting much of the world in a frenzy of anti-Americanism.

Michael Hirsh is Shrill!

It appear's that Newsweek's Michael Hirsh has been driven to shrill unholy madness by the incompetence of the George W. Bush administration. Don't believe us? See for yourself.

How then did we arrive at this day, with anti-American Islamist governments rising in the Mideast, bin Laden sneering at us, Qaeda lieutenants escaping from prison, Iran brazenly enriching uranium, and America as hated and mistrusted as it ever has been? The answer, in a word, is incompetence.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

William M. Arkin Is Shrill!

He curses the inhabitants of the Pentagon:

Early Warning by William M. Arkin - : Pentagon Fails on Roadside Bombs:The roadside bomb threat in Iraq made national news last weekend when an IED seriously injured ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt while they were embedded with the U.S. military. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to the Defense Department, 51 percent of 1,735 combat deaths and two-thirds of 16,500 injuries are due to roadside bombs.

Some in the military are grousing about wall to wall coverage of Woodruff and Vogt, and the suggestion that "press folks are more important than mere military folks." What soldiers need to understand is that not only were Woodruff and Vogt in Iraq to report on those very folks, but if they have anger and frustration about the threats in Iraq, they should focus their ire on the Pentagon and the bureaucracy and not on the media.

The Pentagon's inability to competently deliver help to soldiers in the field is partly due to its insane propensity to create ad hoc organizations to address a problem and then constantly reorganize at the drop of a hat.... In December, Rumsfeld appointed retired Army Gen. Montgomery Meigs to head the Pentagon's efforts to deal with the problem, essentially firing the one star running the program and admitting that a number of diffuse and uncoordinated efforts had failed to produce either the technology or the tactics to protect American servicemembers. Meigs oversees a growing IED organization and over $1 billion committed for counter-IED initiatives. If there is one thing the Pentagon knows how to do, it is throw money at a problem, particularly one that suggests a technology solution.

But it also knows how to play with blocs, organizational blocs that is. Consider this: In October 2003, the Army created the Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (IED-TF) in recognition of the threat. In February 2004, the Army further directed the IED-TF be made a standing capability with assigned field teams. In April 2004, the Army proposed activation of an Asymmetric Warfare Regiment (later designated the Asymmetric Warfare Group) to oversee IED response and counter-terrorism priorities. In July 2004, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz redesignates the Army Task Force the Joint IED Defeat Task Force (JIEDD-TF), again assigning it the mission of providing streamlined and timely support to soldiers in the field. In July 2004, DOD establishes a Joint Integrated Process Team for Defeating Improvised Explosive Devices (Joint IED Defeat IPT) to sharpen DoD focus on IEDs. In June 2005, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld signed a directive (DOD Directive 2000.19, Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat) designating DOD resources and direction to the problem. In January 2006, Meigs' JIEDD-TF is again redesignated as the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and is made a permanent task force.

What has all this produced to stop IEDs? I guess a lot of old letterhead and not much action.

So it should be no surprise that in October 2004, when the Army published interim Field Manual 3-07.22, "Counterinsurgency Operations," the new doctrine only mentioned IEDs as a peripheral threat and made no mention whatsoever of potential IED campaigns employed by an adversary such as in Iraq. The new doctrine establish no doctrine for countering such campaigns.

No wonder that this week Republican and military stalwart Rep. Hunter now says "we need to focus more effort" on the IED problem and threat.

The President may declare that we are "winning" in Iraq, but on the ground, happy talk about progress masks an unchanging if not even growing threat.

Of course none of this would be the epidemic that it is if the Defense Secretary and his department had recognized from the beginning that Iraq not only was chock-a-block filled with munitions but also that more troops were needed to ensure security after vanquishing the Iraqi Army.

My point is not to go over old territory, but to lament the clear contradiction evident in wild reorganization and the writing of check for over $1 billion to solve the problem: We are winning? Not only aren't we, but I have little confidence that this Pentagon leadership can even do what is needed to minimally protect American and Iraqi lives.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shrillblog Joke Contest!

Sometimes we sit around the halls of The Order trying to find a silver lining to the incompetence, malevolence, mendacity, and sheer disconnection of reality of the George W. Bush administration. At the very least, we'd like a good joke. Here's the latest batch, fresh from the lab:

Q: What's funnier than President Bush proclaiming we need to reduce dependence on oil?
A: President Bush's own advisors admitting he was making it up.

Q: What's funnier tha President Bush's own advisors admitting he was making it up?
A: Nothing!

Thank you, thank you -- we're here all foureight years. Semper catum.