14 September 2007

Hillary Clinton - War then, War now

War then - 23 DEC 1997 via DefenseLink:

BRUSSELS, Dec. 23, 1997 – During a preholiday visit to Bosnia Dec. 22 President Clinton told American troops thanks to their efforts, the Balkan nation is no longer "the powder keg at the heart of Europe."

"We gave you a mission and you delivered," Clinton told members of the Army's 1st Armored Division and 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. "What you are doing for your country is a good and noble thing," he said. "You are doing it well, and we are grateful."

"They made an agreement at Dayton that we are doing our dead level best to help them enforce," Clinton said. The United States is determined not only to do its part, but also expects the Bosnians to theirs, he said.

The president told American troops at Eagle Base the young Muslims, Serbs and Croats he met in Sarajevo all want peace. "It was like a chorus," Clinton said, "They said, 'Stay just a little longer. We don't understand why we're supposed to hate each other. We don't want that kind of future. Please stay.'"

Clinton's visit came four days after he announced U.S. forces will participate in a follow-on peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. "In spite of all you have done," he said in Tuzla, "I think it is imperative that we not stop until the peace here has a life of its own, until it can endure without us. We have worked too hard to let this go."
Grand outlook from a President, and how did we get there?

From Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.345 Dec 9, 1999 at On The Issues:
On March 21, 1999, Hillary expressed her views by phone to the President: “I urged him to bomb.” The Clintons argued the issue over the next few days. [The President expressed] what-ifs: What if bombing promoted more executions? What if it took apart the NATO alliance? Hillary responded, “You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?” The next day the President declared that force was necessary.
And what of this concept of running and causing a holocaust? Brave ideals, surely.

Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France Jun 17, 1999 by Hillary Clinton from On The Issues:
I’ve met people who are determined to rebuild Kosovo with a sense of positive energy and not vindictiveness and retribution. This has been possible because our nations-our leaders and our citizens-stood up against evil. Now there are some who I know who would quibble with my use of that word, but I think it fully describes the conflict we have been waging these last few months. The many democracies that came together to wage this battle against Milosevic may have spoken different languages and even held different political views. But they have sent a unified message at the end of this century that says we will not turn away when human beings are cruelly expelled, or when they are denied basic rights and dignities because of how they look or how they worship. When crimes against humanity rear their ugly heads, we have to send such a message as an international community.
Yes, crimes against huminty by a foul dictator. Crimes against Nations and Peoples. Very much a terrorist regime. There are, however, prices to pay...

1997 report on a staff trip to the NTC and JRTC (National Training Center (NTC) and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) conducted by Senate staff:
Army-wide Shortages in Key Personnel

Despite high operating tempos and work loads, both OPFORs at the NTC and JRTC were described as fully manned, enjoying high esprit de corps, and having retention rates at least as good as the rest of the Army, if not better. For the units rotating into the NTC and JRTC—i.e. the Army's combat units; that is to say, the heart and sole of the Army—there is a very different story. I was told the following:
Units coming to both training centers frequently do not come with many of their sub-unit commanders; these have frequently been assigned to peacekeeping missions or other deployments that separate them from their units. As a result, sub-units—from basic squads on up—do not train with the commanders that they would go to war with. When this happens, it violates a key dictum of readiness and one of the basic points of having the NTC and the JRTC: the Army should “train just as you go to war.”

At the NTC, units rotating in typically come with a 60% shortage in mechanics and a 50% shortage in “mounted” mechanized infantry (in their Bradley APCs). These were described as “Army-wide” shortages: they were demonstrated by virtually all the units coming to the NTC. These shortages were described as due to these personnel, especially the mechanics, being deployed abroad for missions such as Bosnia. On average, all Army personnel now spend from 180 to 220 days of each year away from their home base, and families, on deployments. This average used to be about 165 days per year. According to Army testimony to Congress, the increase in these deployments is for peacekeeping missions.
At the JRTC, units were described as typically missing 25% of their basic infantry: mostly junior enlisted personnel with combat military specialties and mid grade non-commissioned officer (NCO) personnel. This was described as a recruiting problem and specifically not because of deployments such as Bosnia.

In actuality, these problems may be worse than indicated here. I was told at the NTC that the NCO shortages are often temporarily addressed by pulling junior NCOs into the unfilled senior and mid level slots to make more complete units for training purposes. At the JRTC, because one third of each brigade's junior enlisted and NCO personnel do not deploy for a rotation, it is possible that gaps in the units that do deploy are filled with those that would otherwise stay home. I was told this is not occurring; however, I am skeptical that it never happens.
Warning from the Senate on the readiness of US forces as seen from the training centers, if the President would care to listen.

10 NOV 1999 briefing on Army Readinessfrom Defenselink:
The Army chief of staff reported to Congress on October 26th that the Army remains a trained and ready force, able to fight and win our nation's wars, if called upon.

Current concerns about readiness are the result of two of the Army's 10 combat divisions reporting a lower-than-normal readiness level for the month of October in the category of personnel availability. These Army divisions are presently providing forces to the Balkans, the 10th Mountain Division in Bosnia and the 1st Infantry Division in Kosovo.

These divisions have deployed fully ready forces to the Balkans. The issue is not resource inadequacies -- that is, training, manning, or equipment shortfalls. Instead, it reflects the fact that the Army's current readiness reporting system requires commanders to assess and report their unit's level of readiness based upon their ability to deploy ready forces to a major theater war within time lines established in the war plans. Further, commanders report the readiness of their divisions as a whole and do not report separately for their forces split between home station and the Balkans.

The commanders have lowered readiness assessments out of concern that they may be unable to disengage from the Balkans, retrain, and redeploy forces in time to meet their major theater war requirement deployment dates, as specified in the current war plans.

We have a force structure capable of winning two near-simultaneous major theater wars, not two wars plus a small-scale contingency. We've made that clear that in the event of a two major theater war scenario; all of our forces will be required.

Therefore, we will be required to withdraw these units from the Balkans in the event of such a scenario. To ensure their ability to redeploy quickly and meet this readiness concern, the Army, the European Command, the Joint Staff and the Office of Secretary of Defense have taken a series of steps:

First, we are building a detailed Redeployment Plan into our deliberate planning process. This, along with an Army-led training initiative, will speed up the time line required for retraining and redeployment so that units can get to the war fight more quickly.

Second, where necessary, other units will be substituted in our existing war plans for units deployed to the Balkans that would otherwise be required in the initial phases of a major conflict, so-called early-deployers.

Third, we are planning to use the Army National Guard units more frequently in the Balkans to free up active units to prepare for their principal wartime mission.

Fourth, the Army is modifying readiness reporting procedures to better reflect division readiness for units with dual missions, for small-scale contingencies and major theater war requirements.
Two Army Divisions overextended, overworked, under supplied by a President who didn't care.

23 MAR 2003 via YouTube posting of Code Pink meeting with Hillary Clinton:

"There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm's way, and that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm, and I have absolutely no belief that he will. I have to say that this is something I have followed for more than a decade.

For now nearly 20 years, the principal reason why women and children in Iraq have suffered, is because of Saddam's leadership.

The very difficult question for all of us, is how does one bring about the disarmament of someone with such a proven track record of a commitment, if not an obsession, with weapons of mass destruction.

I ended up voting for the resolution after carefully reviewing the information and intelligence I had available, talking with people who's opinions I trusted, trying to discount political or other factors that I didn't believe should be in any way a part of this decision, and it is unfortunate that we are at the point of a potential military action to enforce the resolution. That is not my preference, it would be far preferable if we had legitimate cooperation from Saddam Hussein, and a willingness on his part to disarm, and to account for his chemical and biological storehouses.

With respect to whose responsibility it is to disarm Saddam Hussein, I do not believe that given the attitudes of many people in the world community today that there would be a willingness to take on very difficult problems were it not for United States leadership. And I am talking specifically about what had to be done in Bosnia and Kosovo, where my husband could not get a Security Council resolution to save the Kosovar Albanians from ethnic cleansing. And we did it alone as the United States, and we had to do it alone. It would have been far preferable if the Russians and others had agreed to do it through the United Nations -- they would not. I'm happy that, in the face of such horrible suffering, we did act."
Yes, another tyrant to be confronted and terrorism, again, rears its ugly head as sponsored by a Nation often against its own People.

War now - Hillary Clinton 10 JUL 2007 speech at Speech at the Temple for the Performing Arts in Des Moines:
This will be my first and most important mission as President -- one I believe I have the strength and experience to complete. Today, I want to lay out my three point plan for how I would achieve this -- how, as President, I would bring our troops home, work to bring stability to the region, and replace a military force with a new diplomatic initiative to engage countries around the world in securing Iraq's future and America's national security interests.
What of running and causing a 'holocaust', Sen. Clinton? You did vote for this conflict. Of course you voted for Bosnia and Kosovo, too, by speaking with your husband on them.

Really there does need to be some enlightenment from you, Sen. Clinton, on why running from Iraq while they are still trying to get things up and running would *not* cause a holocaust. Or are you looking to be the author of the first holocaust of the 21st century?

Even worse is that quote you gave earlier: "This has been possible because our nations-our leaders and our citizens-stood up against evil."

Bringing a war torn Nation together because our leaders stand TOGETHER to do so after a war. A war that your husband never had bothered to get declared anywhere, for any 'peacekeeping' missions in places that were none too peaceful. While in a conflict that you helped to authorize, Sen. Clinton, you are now willing to show divisiveness and run from people who are uniting to get their country together and look to us for help. What gives with this, Sen. Clinton? All grand and glorious when little hell-holes of 'peacekeeping' turn out to be multi-year and over a decade, but when a large war, to take down a tyrant who refused to abide by agreements he made, that defied the international community as you well know, and authorized by Congress just might take more than six or seven years to sort out... why backing of one and not the other? And just where was your husband in assuring that the troops had proper rotation cycles during his overextension of them during PEACE TIME?

Hillary Clinton's most perfect wars: Bosnia and Kosovo. And let the military deteriorate as those perfect little wars are fought and un-won. Just how well are the Balkans doing these days? All constitutional democracies now? Regular free and fair elections going on all the time?

Finally, there is the problem of this question you posed to Gen. Patraeus, Sen. Clinton (via FNC Hannity & Colmes):
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a policy that you have been ordered to implement by the president. And you have been made the de facto spokesman for what many of us believe to be a failed policy. Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.
As First Lady, and no doubt hearing some reports by Four Star Generals during your time in the White House, did you ever, once in your time there, need to have a 'willing suspension of disbelief' when they talked to your husband? What, in particular, makes you so sure that the entire Armed Forces has been so thoroughly corrupted over the last 6 or so years that you would EVER need to have a 'suspension of disbelief' when a Four Star General gives a report to Congress? And I am sure that a classified report is made available to Congress as background material. So what, in particular, do you doubt, Sen. Clinton?

Or are you pining for the day of that perfect little war of 'peacekeeping' in the Balkans that *still* hasn't come to any real sort of conclusion? Why can't we National Leadership that comes together on one of the foremost security questions of our times?

And why, Sen. Clinton, do you want to lead the charge to defeat and genocide? For that is what all of Congress will get tagged with if Iraq does not get together with our help. That is our responsibility after a war that Congress has put its stamp of approval on. You, talking to the Pinkies, said that the 'world community' is not to be trusted leading such things or running them. That includes the 'international community' as part of that.

Or are you just 'triangulating' with national security?

And leading us, as your husband did, to increasing terrorism that finally came to our shores?

You were part of that, remember?

How about living up to your own fine views on coming together as a National Leader, Sen. Clinton? Or is that beneath you, to just be a Senator of the United States living up to the commitments that you approved?


Doug said...

Charles Ferguson, a filmmaker, presents a rebuttal to claims made by L. Paul Bremer III that top American officials approved the decision to disband the Iraqi army.
ht Ash
Ferguson talks to LOTS of very credible people.

A Jacksonian said...

Very interesting... we also have credible, on the ground reporting that the Iraqi Army had disintegrated. John Burns of the NYT was there to witness that and has said as much, and while I have my problems with Michael Ware, he reports the same by, yes, ex-commanding officers.

I would be very interested to see that list of personnel that were from the Iraqi Army that was put down somewhere. 137,000 names is an awful lot to disappear...

The question of how the US would actually have some control over the Iraqi Army and any confidence in it, is also one that is difficult to see. Getting 10,000 'Military Police' into the streets is one thing... controlling it is quite another. There are problems even having an intact Iraqi Army, and we forget that, also. Morale, discipline and ensuring accountability of a foreign force are paramount and by putting the Iraqi Army on the street without those safeguards might stop the violence, and be seen as putting it back into place for good and ill.

Finally the characterizations of the New Iraqi Army are hard to connect with the force that is being described by Yon, Ardolino, and now quite some few of the PMI reporters. And the characterization of the state of the Old Iraqi Army do not square with what has been described on the ground, either. From our on the ground reporting, we know that al Qaeda had already set up a network of recruits to expand upon in Iraq. That recruiting went on under the previous regime and the military forces of Iraq outside of the brutal Republican Guard, were not trained for COIN. And the COIN they did know... the less said about that the better. And if the old 'oil drop' had been used, we would be in a much, much worse position with a deeply rooted insurgency in the periphery than we have now with the periphery turning on the insurgency. Quiet cities by military cantonment and restive countrysides have been the bane of COIN since it started as a concept. Then would we be hearing the complaints of the patrols being attacked incessently and how the US couldn't bring any safety to the provinces and the problems of the Old Iraqi Army having some brutal tendancies... the partisans would be on *any* problems no matter what was done. Some few might even be wondering, down that time line, 'why didn't we disband this thing when we had the chance?'

In any event, history will be the final judge of this in 20 or 30 years. We have problems now, that must be worked through now, and I see nothing that will change these current problems. I paint no lovely pictures down any of the major paths of decision that were taken, and some down those alternates get a far worse position now than this one. I will be interested to see what comes of this, but forward must now be the direction and let the chips fall where they may for the rest. Iraq is getting its Liberation and Revolutionary Wars all rolled together, along with problems from external actors. Getting them through this successfully is paramount.

That is why we have those we elect to represent the Nation and bring it together during times of war. And because Congress has lacked the will to back its authorization, we would be in a mess no matter *what* was done. Of course that is something that no one wants to investigate or report on... strange, that. Maybe we should have a good, non-partisan look at this problem and find a way to solve it. Before it dissolves the Nation.