Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Whose Slo-Bleed Tactics Are These?

A year ago, Wolf Blitzer rattled me as I was pouring my first cup of coffee in the morning. He was telling me and his CNN audience that the Democrats were using the “slow-bleed tactic” in cutting off Iraq war occupation funding. That morning, I could not believe Wolf’s audacity and imagination.

But sure enough, 'slow-bleed' was the meme with which Republicans were trying to frame the new Democratic majority's effort to curtail spending on Iraq. However, it turned out that Wolf could read his cue cards more fluently than could members of Bush's war-party in Congress:

As shockingly ironic as this GOP line was, it was short-lived. I think they realized that 'bleeding' was not a theme that would be fruitful
for their side, in the longer term, .

Alex S. Jones director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, says:
Vietnam held the media's attention a lot better because it was a war with a draft that touched a lot more people; people were sent against their will, and many more Americans were killed ... In a conventional war, like World War II, there's dramatic change, a moving front line, a compelling narrative
But after the triumphal first months, when Bush declared victory on Mayday 2003, Iraq became a war of insurgents vs. counterinsurgents.

That is to say, we entered the occupation mode. That's what counterinsurgency (COIN) is: war against the people. We were not welcomed by the Iraqi people with their hearts and flowers as Cheney had promised. Instead we – the occupiers – had to pacify and subdue them. American forces have become just one more militia among many in Iraq. We may be the most powerful of all the militias, and the only one with air cover. But our militia has less legitimacy than all the others.

It's been a slow process, requiring innumerable bait n' switch
bench-marks, yardsticks criterion, standards, metrics, check-points and Friedman units. Bush and Cheney have put us all, as a nation, in slow bleed mode: drip ... drip ... drip ... We turn around, five years after Bush declared major hostilities were concluded and we have 4,000 troops dead. Of those killed in action, 97% of our KIA have died after the occupation began. That's a slow bleed policy.

Who would have imagined? It's like we were a whole bunch of frogs in a pot which the Neocons slowly brought to a boil. All of a sudden, after five (5!) years we find ourselves cooked! To the tune of a $ 1,000,000,000,000! And the media never told us?

How long were the French in Algeria? Eight years from 1954-62. It took them four years of trial and error to develop a COIN doctrine and operational concept able to defeat the FLN inside Algeria and prevent outside assistance from reconstituting their insurgents. By 1960 it was apparent the FLN could not win the liberation of Algeria militarily. However, the political situation within France and the diplomatic situation internationally had deteriorated by then to the point that military operations were not going to affect the political outcome in Algeria. By the time
the French Armed Forces adopted an effective doctrine to combat the nationalists' threat, it was irrelevant.

It doesn't matter when we leave. Things are not coalescing now, politically, during the thermidor of the surge. There's no political glue there. Baghdad is a labyrinth of walled-off and armed camps. As is the rest of Iraq. Our presence only delays the bloody resolution of the raging sectarian and militia conflicts which our invasion and decapitation of the Iraqi state evoked. Iraq, as we knew it, is over. Kaput!
It's going to be nasty and gnarly and brutish when we leave, whenever we leave. A hard rain is going to fall.

Now? In 15 months? In five years? Take your choice. Spend a little more, bleed a little more. How much more? Is it worth spending $1.2 trillion? Howabout $1.5 trillion? 6,000 KIA? 50,000 WIA's requiring billions of dollars in medical care for the rest of their lives?

None of this matters to McCain any more than it mattered to Bush. Theirs is the slow-bleed policy.
Drag it out and hope for the best. Bush and McCain messed it up and they're holding on long enough to force the Democrats to clean it up.

At bottom, The Busheney-McCain plan is a gamble. And like all gamblers, especially gamblers who play with other peoples' money and lives, they have 'lost it'. They are lurching and reeling along their path with the heedless frenzy of gamblers who are throwing away good money and lives in the hopes of covering their losses. We have to keep dying and bleeding so that those who have died and bled before now will not have died and bled in vain? That's your slow-bleed policy.

We Americans have to rouse ourselves from our
stupor induced by these blood-lusting gamblers before they leave office. Support our troops by bringing them home now.