December 7, 2008

Knicks & Knacks II

Hatched by Dafydd

What knackers!

Today on Power Line, John Hinderaker once again takes up the sensuous man's burden in praise of beauty pageants. Anent the Miss World competition, now underway, he writes about one of the beauties, whose picture he emplaces below the paragraph...

Nevertheless, excitement is beginning to mount. With serious wagering now in progress, betting odds have taken shape. The original favorite, as reflected here, was Miss Ukraine. That's not too surprising, given the home stage advantage that we often see in beauty pageants. What is remarkable is that, notwithstanding the shift in locale, Miss Ukraine still rates second as a betting favorite (as always, click to enlarge).

Click to enlarge? You think you, uh, might rephrase some of those phrases? Hindrocket?

Going to war with the Army you wish you had

So President Barack Obama evidently chose his new Secretary of Veteran's Affairs primarily to poke a finger in Donald Rumsfeld's eye, at least according to AP:

Shinseki's tenure as Army chief of staff from 1999 to 2003 was marked by constant tensions with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which boiled over in 2003 when Shinseki testified to Congress that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion.

Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, belittled the estimate as "wildly off the mark" and the army general was forced out within months. But Shinseki's words proved prophetic after President George W. Bush in early 2007 announced a "surge" of additional troops to Iraq after miscalculating the numbers needed to stem sectarian violence.

Obama said he selected Shinseki for the VA post because he "was right" in predicting that the U.S. will need more troops in Iraq than Rumsfeld believed at the time.

How many misstatements, fabrications, and misunderstandings can an author squeeze into a single article? Here are four from a scant three paragraphs:

  1. George W. Bush did not "miscalculate" how many forces he needed; the president was presented with one strategy that needed a certain number of military personnel... and when that strategy wasn't working, he was presented with a different strategy that required a slightly larger number of military personnel. In both cases, Bush supplied the troops that his generals requested.
  2. Gen. Eric Shinseki was never "forced out" as Chief of Staff; he served his complete four-year term... as AP itself admits in the immediately preceding paragraph.
  3. Shinseki was indeed "wildly off the mark" about the number of troops we would need: He said we would need "several hundred thousand," which would mean at least 300,000 to 400,000. In fact, we had about 130,000, and we needed about 158,000. A "surge" of 28,000 men hardly constitutes "several hundred thousand."
  4. It is clear from context that Shinseki was not thinking about a counterinsurgency strategy (which he never mentioned) when he made his infamous claim... he was thinking about refighting the Gulf War, when Gen. Colin Powell sent more than half a million troops to Saudi Arabia to liberate Kuwait. Shinseki must have known this was utterly impossible, given the slashed military bequeathed to Bush by former President Bill Clinton; I believe Shinseki's only purpose was to dissuade us from going into Iraq at all... which, considering how well it's turned out and what a victory we achieved there, hardly counts as "prophetic"... even if we did end up needing 22% more than Rumsfeld expected in the counterinsurgency phase. In any event, it's not the number of troops that mattered; it was the change of strategy -- which Eric Shinseki never even addressed.

Bush is leaving, Rumsfeld is already long gone, but the vendetta of the elite news media abides.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 7, 2008, at the time of 6:01 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

I remember the PRESS at least predicting tens of thousands of American Troops dead just getting to Baghdad. If Shinseki was thinking we would need 300,000 men to do the job, I wonder how many US Casualties HE had predicted we would sustain doing that job.

It amazes me how few Americans casualties we have sustained, but it's rarely mentioned by the Press when they discuss the War on Terror or it's Fronts in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't wonder why the Press in general avoid that statistic... but I think it would be fun to take somebody the Press idolizes (like General Shinseki), and show the OTHER things they had predicted.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 7, 2008 10:41 PM

The following hissed in response by: Doc-obiwan

General Shinseki will be forever remembered--and reviled-- by the troops as the one who took the Black Beret of the Rangers, and said, Well, isn't that speshul? And switched the entire US Army over to it, so everybody could be speshul.

Shinseki may have gone through Ranger school and gotten the Tab...but he's no Ranger. Never served with a Ranger unit, he's Armor all the way.

The Ranger vets (to include me--I am qualified to wear both the black and the Green Beret) will view his appointment as a slap in the face.

I'd hoped never to hear of him again.

The above hissed in response by: Doc-obiwan [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 8, 2008 1:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

The elite news media is dying. This election has finished them, because of their ham-handed propagandizing on behalf of Obama.

A free press will arise in their stead. The market will save us.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2008 8:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Wonder of Wonders... CNN posts an article that pierces the Myth of General Shinseki's Rebellion:

It's an appealing narrative, but the facts as we know them are not nearly so complimentary to the retired Army chief.

You see, Shinseki never made any recommendation for more troops for Iraq. In fact, as Army chief of staff, it wasn't really part of his job to take part in direct war planning.

But as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he did owe the president his best military advice. And if he felt strongly enough that the advice was not being taken, he could have resigned.

According to senior military officers who were in the pre-war meetings, Shinseki never objected to the war plans, and he didn't press for any changes.

When the joint chiefs were asked point-blank by then-Chairman Gen. Richard Meyers if they had any concerns about the plans before they went to the president, Shinseki kept silent.

The article is written by CNN's Senior Pentagon Correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2008 12:42 PM

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