Tuesday, December 05, 2006

# Posted 8:53 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: There was a problem with the ABC podcast, so I'm only going to tackle NBC and CBS in this post. The former led off with Stephen Hadley, followed by Carl Levin and John Warner, followed by Jimmy Carter. The latter also led off with Stephen Hadley, followed by Joe Lieberman and Chuck Hagel.
Hadley on NBC: B-. Hadley's strength is that he rarely stumbles into exaggerated or indefensible statements. But under pressure from Russert, he began to seem more and more evasive, rather than addressing the questions head on. Yet even though Russert's tone was confrontational, he didn't have any trump cards to play in terms of substance. If Hadley chose to engage directly rather than looking for a way out, I think he could've prevailed.

Levin: B. Levin is a confident and aggressive spokesman for his point of view, comparable to Chuck Schumer. Yet his analysis of the situation in Iraq is not nearly as sharp as his attacks on the President. For some time now, Levin and other Democrats have latched onto the slogan that "that there’s no military solution to Iraq." The proper meaning of that statement is that there is no purely military solution to the situation in Iraq. Yet Levin aggressively insisted that because "there's no military solution", our troops are irrelevant to the situation on the ground. By extension, there's no reason to keep our troops on the ground.

But that's nonsense. Even if we pursue a primarily diplomatic solution to the situation in Iraq, our military presence will provide critical leverage. In addition, even if there's no military solution, our military forces can do things such as prevent large scale massacres or hunt down terrorists.

Although one might say that Levin's rhetoric is just the result of his striving for partisan advantage. I disagree. I think he really means what he says and that it reflects the distressing inability of liberal Democrats to accept that raw power remains indispensable to success in international relations.

John Warner: B. Inoffensive. He exerts influence via his stature as an elder statesmen of the Senate, but his contributions as a pundit are rather light.

Jimmy Carter: D-. There would be considerable justification for giving the 39th president OxBlog's first "F", but I'm not feeling vindictive at the moment. Thankfully, Carter's polemics don't require much commentary on my part. For example:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me read from page 215 of your book. “A system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the policy now being followed.” And last Sunday you told Louisville Courier-Journal, “I would say that in many ways the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupying forces is as onerous—and in some cases more onerous—as the treatment of black people in South Africa by the apartheid government.” Those are very strong words.

FMR. PRES. CARTER: They are exactly accurate
What perplexes me is why Tim Russert didn't subject Carter to any sort of vigorous cross-examination. Did Russert feel that Carter's statements were so absurd that there was no need for a response? I hope so, but Russert's unusually deferential tone suggested that he respected what Carter had to say.

Hadley on CBS: B+. As mentioned above, Hadley lost his rhythm when confronted by Tim Russert. But when faced with only Bob Schieffer's ambling manner and simple challenges, Hadley had no problem swatting down criticism and defending the administration.

Hagel: B. Fairly reasonable, as always. But I find Hagel far too willing to invoke certain simplistic nostrums of realpolitik. For example, he quoted Talleyrand to the effect that states have no permanent friends, only permanent interests. But that old cliche ignores how shared values create permanent friendships, for example between the US and the UK. Or how shared values prevent armed conflict between liberal democracies.

The reason Hagel quoted Talleyrand was to support his argument that national interest would compel Syria and Iran to cooperate with us in Iraq, even though their governments would never consider the United States to be a friend. Yet just as Hagel fails to recognize how shared values can create shared interests, he also fails to recognize how opposing values can generate opposing interests.

Lieberman: B. His arguments occasionally veered toward the simplistic, but he clearly made one very important point that seems to elude almost everyone who insists that Iran and Syria would help resolve the situation in Iraq if we invited them to an international conference. As Lieberman observed, both Syria and Iran have much to gain from ongoing chaos in Iraq. Ultimately, they want to be the United States battered and humiliated and understand that driving out of Iraq is the best way to achieve that objective.
I'll post an update if and when ABC resolves its podcasting issue. Also, it seems that CBS is no longer posting transcripts of Face the Nation, which is why I haven't been using direct quotes. But you can still listen to the podcast or watch the whole show on the CBS website.
(24) opinions -- Add your opinion

I am simply asking, if Fmr. Pres. Carter had toned down the rhetoric would he have been given a higher grade?

When watching MTP this weekend and heard that quote *I KNEW* you would be taking offense with the statement. :)
. March 08, 2003 David Adesnik
''What the US has to decide is whether invading Iraq is important enough to disregard criticism of it. I, for one, say yes.

And I suspect that there will be much less criticism once we find Saddam's chemical weapons stockpile and show the French and Germans what they are pretending doesn't exist.’’
February -6 2003 David Adesnik
Check out David's logic on this one:
When confronted with Donald Rumsfled's periodic assertions that Iraq and Al-Qaeda have been working together, I tended to assume that the SecDef was grasping at straws. But now all that has changed. As the evidence shows

"Al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they are now operating freely in the capital for more than eight months."

The best indications of how convincing the evidence are the brand-new justifications for avoiding war that the administration's opponents have rolled out. According to a NYT news analysis,
"Mr. Powell did not appear to make an airtight case that the Saddam Hussein regime is plotting with Al Qaeda to attack the United States and its allies."
If not, then what are Al Qaeda's forces doing in Baghdad?
''Back when there was no public evidence that Saddam and Al Qaeda were cooperating, it made sense to argue that there were no joint attacks being planned. To deny it now is absurd.''-David Adesnik, 06/02/03
David Adesnik Sez
'Yes, the cost of rebuilding Iraq will be great. But it pales in comparison to the cost of being on guard against Iraqi aggression for another decade.'
BEYOND REGIME CHANGE: The Outlook section in this Sunday's WaPo features a series of five essays on the aftermath of the war in Iraq.

As the co-founder of OxDem, I found the essays thoroughly depressing. Taken as whole, the essays' message is that there is little hope for promoting democracy in Iraq or in the Middle East. Fortunately, the logic on which this message rests is absurd to the point of self-contradiction.

David Sez:

Wesley Clark spends most of his time explaining why Iraq is not Japan and why we cannot expect to transform it via military occupation. Pardon me, General, but that description of Japan's total defeat seems to fit Iraq perfectly.
''Uninformed Western observers have ignored considerable evidence that Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish Iraqis are ready to share a single state.''
David Adesnik.
''In addition, even if there's no military solution, our military forces can do things such as prevent large scale massacres or hunt down terrorists.'' Er, hunt down terrorists? Give it up, Adesnik. Hunting terrorists is a military operation, which has to do with achieving a political outcome. The political situation is beyond control, and therefore...well, the rest really goes without saying, sorry. Give up your terrorist-hunting fantasies.
Here's another, if we're counting...
''Adopting a regional perspective, Youssef Ibrahim insists that promoting democracy in the Middle East will accomplish nothing more than bringing violent fundamentalists to power. This, however, is an argument that OxBlog has been in the process of dismantling since December.'' -David Adesnik
David, on 22 March 2003

''Perhaps the saddest aspect of Ibrahim's essay is the author's willingness to trust Hosni Mubarak's assertion -- made in private conversation with the author -- that democratic reforms in Egypt will provoke a fundamentalist backlash. Apparently, Ibrahim is so naive that he doesn't recognize how Mubarak and other dictators have systematically exaggerated the fundamentalist threat in order to prevent the United States from demanding democratic reforms.''

mmm, so naive

and of course...whichever jerk decides to hide behind a moniker/anon shows that s/he has no social outlets or acceptance in their life as his or her last few months (or more) have been spent entirely in the archives of Oxblog.

Well done sir/madam!
''edhula3 said...and of course...whichever jerk decides to hide behind a moniker/anon shows that s/he has no social outlets or acceptance in their life as his or her last few months (or more) have been spent entirely in the archives of Oxblog. Well done sir/madam!''

you're right edhula; bad analysis should just be left as is - no follow up necessary.
For what it's worth...
I'm not saying it doesn't deserve it, what I am saying is this; you clearly have little else going on in your life because you can spend who knows how long, looking at past posts on a blog.

Now, what was your analysis of Iraq pre war and what is it with the current situation?
...last few months (or more) have been spent entirely...

...have little else going on in your life because you can spend who knows how long...

I don't know if you've ever researched anything, but it doesn't take 'months' to look through an internet blog archive.
Realize that you've only countered my hyperbole, not anything substantive.

And that doesn't prove that you haven't spent copious amounts of time looking at this blog's archives.

I refuse to even recognize an anonymous jerk's comments further.
adesnik has the courage to put his opinions on the net, under his own name, and take the risk he will be wrong. Clearly someone wants to silence him, and is ruing the comments section of this blog to do it.
Well, edhula, your idea of exhaustive research must be reading Wikipedia.
''PS For all those concerned with OxDem, let me point out that its website no longer exists.'' And the organization itself, does that still exist?
Now, what was your analysis of Iraq pre war and what is it with the current situation?

My analysis of Iraq pre-war (if you'd still care to know) was the same as it stands today; that Iraq posed no regional or international threat; that it understood the consequences of aggressive action; that it had little intention of employing military means against any state; that it had little organized capacity to do so; and that, as a result, other situations around the globe demanded far more attention than it.

In this sense, it was always, for me, difficult to be convinced of Iraq's relevance versus other places - whether for humanitarian or strategic reasons.

In regards to the aftermath - I believed that an invasion of Iraq would cost far more than the projected 100-200 billion; the past and recent military venture in Afghanistan in 2001, moreover, stood as evidence of the administration's limited commtiment to post-war operations; and, most importantly, I recognized the fundamental problems with the administrations focus on 'Efficiency' - namely, it's determination to win with small numbers of troops, a propensity towards casualty aversion, an obsession with high technology and 'rapid & precise' military approaches which, though delivering 'efficient' results, had little to do with the political results on the ground. (If you're interested in this, read JV2020)

Above all, I suppose, it was the pre-existing divisions within Iraq which seemed to me the greatest obstacle - information on Iraq's sociological environment could be looked up by anyone, and I didn't understand why it never received greater attention (particularly from people like David Adesnik who, quite rightly, favour a focus on the importance of ''...cultures and ideas in the realm of politics'' and downplay political scientists' ''obsession with statistics'. This lack of ''...sensitivity to the compexity of real-world political events'' in the administrations approach, combined with the natural constraints on a small, professional armed forces, convinced me early on of the mission's inevitable failure.

My position today remains similar - that the United States would, financially and strategically, be best off departing as soon as possible.

I hope this helps.

Clearly someone wants to silence him, and is ruing the comments section of this blog to do it

um, liberalhawk, the problem is that he was already silenced in the first place. that was the issue.

it's o.k, though, you can go back to reading The World is Flat now.
"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."

~ Dresden James

Go to the West Bank. Look for yourself. Mr. Carter is merely reporting what he -- and anyone who goes to the West Bank -- sees, including many Israeli soldiers. See, for example: http://www.shovrimshtika.org/index_e.asp
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