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Defining Incompetence

By Ron Cebik  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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The media is having a field day with the comments of a number of retired generals about the conduct of the Iraq war. Based on their outcome based criteria for a successful conclusion of the conflict, these generals, some of whom served in this war, have called for the resignation of the Secretary of Defense. They have accused him of incompetence in conducting the war and of precluding its successful conclusion. They have based their criticism on the generally accepted assumptions:
A goal of the war was to establish a stable democratic Iraqi government capable of improving economic and social conditions in the country.

The suppression of any insurgency would facilitate the development of a loyal and competent Iraqi defense force.

The restoration of Iraq's petroleum producing industry and the economic recovery of the country would enable it to pay for its own restoration.

The evacuation of coalition (read American) forces from Iraq at an early date would result from the accomplishment of the above listed goals.

If these assumptions are correct, the administration has failed and the Pentagon under its civilian leadership is certainly open to the charges leveled by these career military persons. Their stupidity and arrogance, however, are far too blatant to be real. Is our first response to this situation, colored by our conventional maps of reality, preventing us from exploring other possible scenarios? Perhaps the assumptions being made about the goals of the war are erroneous. Suppose, for example:
The goal of the war was to destabilize Iraq, removing the one regime capable of maintaining stability (despite its tyrannical and cruel rule) in a country composed of three disparate elements.

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The release of an insurgency would focus radical Islamic forces onto a definable geo-political area, reducing its efforts to destabilize The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

The collapse of the Iraqi petroleum industry would remove it as a successful competitor in the global market, at least for the short term. Despite the rhetoric, this would keep many oil producers happy, and the oil companies luxuriating in profits.

All of the above would prevent American forces from being evacuated. This would mean continued American presence in the Mid-east between Israel and Iran, on the edge of the entrepreneurial Arab states with vast ownership of Western capital, and a strategic military position outside of Saudi Arabia but accessible to it as a military protector.

Change the goals of the war and the outcome based criteria would change. However, the American public would not accept such Machiavellian goals. Thus we can imagine the ruse of "stupidity" to do what public opinion would rail against.
These comments are not an argument for any reality. They are simply thoughts, if not outside the box, that teeter on the top edge peering down into chaotic flux of events. Stupid or Machiavellian, the perpetrators of this mess are far from the ideal of real leadership.

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Dr. Ron Cebik is a retired psychotherapist living in Connecticut. A progressive neuro-muscular disease has limited his mobility and speech and so he communicates his unconventional thoughts on the conventional primarily through the internet.
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