Monday Mash-Up for June 18

General Jay Garner is interviewed by the Guardian about the early days of the occupation. 

Mr Garner also admitted he did not see several of the plans prepared by the Bush administration and does not know why. He also revealed that he rang Mr Rumsfeld to tell him to stop reducing the US troop deployment and warned him that the consequent power vacuums were filling up with ” fundamentalists”.

ZenPundit posts on a response to Steve DeAngelis’s Tension post The Tension Between Creativity and Efficiency. I agree with Zen and Steve, having worked in the environment where analysis by committee is done until the technology is no longer new. The lost productivity, not to mention management time, cost more in time and resources than having made a bad decision and learning from it. Once, to get 1gb of RAM in my corporate laptop (versus the 512mb “standard” and the 756mb “developer” standards) top management spent over 10hrs of meeting time to discuss authoring me to have an upgrade that cost less than $150. It wasn’t about support because my laptops had long been outside the realm of desktop support. Ultimately, they denied the request, but within 9mos they were standardized on 1gb.

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker made the talk show circuit on Sunday, speaking of “good news, bad news, and challenges.” Quite the change from the “insurgency is in its last throes” the Administration pitched to the public a few years back. Compare the honest discussion Petraeus and his team are having with the public, as well as attempts at synchronicity between dysfunctional Executive-branch departments still ill-prepared for modernity, with the comments from Jay Garner above (which are adroitly examined in Chandraskaran’s Imperial Life).

Hostility towards science within the Administration has seeped into foreign policy and its use of the intelligence community is the point of in three posts by Arms and Influence. From the third post:

Enough people in the Bush Administration have themselves been hostile to science, or have been politically aligned with the anti-science crowd, that it’s fair to say that the anti-science faction has had a profound influence on American politics in the last few years–including foreign policy. The hostility extends to both the results of science as well as the scientific method.

While you might easily find lots of examples–appointing a politically orthodox but scientifically clueless PR person to censor NASA public announcements, removing birth control information from the Health and Human Services web site, the determination to never admit the possibility of global warming, etc.–nowhere can you find a better example than the besieged intelligence community, especially the CIA. The whole work of intelligence resembles science so closely that it would have been amazing if the CIA had not run afoul of Bush, Cheney, Feith, Wolfowitz, et al.

Abu Muqawama is in Morocco, where 1/3 of the population is under 18. Where are the massive jobs programs, expansion of trade, and cultural awareness of both sides on the part of the US? Is it wrapped up in very inexpensive English language programs (which are commendable)? Abu Muqawama asks the right questions:

Where, you have to ask, are all those young people going to find jobs when they get older? And when they can’t get a job — and thus can’t get married and have no sense of identity — what are they going to do with their lives? Where will they turn for some kind of esteem? In the USA, we have the U.S. Marine Corps for our lost children. But as far as this blogger can tell, about the only option a young Moroccan would have is the mosque. And maybe just one out of a hundred young Moroccan men who wander into a mosque get sucked up by some extremist — that’s still a lot of new manpower for jihadi groups.

Hidden Unities wrote a post titled War Criminals in the Pentagon and the White House. The jist? Read this quote from General Antonio Taguba that closes the must read post:

“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

See also Phil Carter’s post on Sy Hersch’s New Yorker article on Taguba.

On a lighter note, my local IMAX isn’t showing Fighter Pilot: Operations Red Flag, but maybe yours is.

Posted in War