The Man Between War and Peace Annotated

  • Ironic to say the least, from Barnett, one of the proudest cheerleaders for the Iraq war and, to a great extent, an architect of the Bush admininstration’s national strategy.

    – post by TransTracker

He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance.

  • Rare indeed, Tom. Because, back in the day, you too argued that the Mullahs of Iran should be overthrown by 2010. Does this mean that you, crowned “The Strategist” by Esquire’s 2002 “best and brightest” issue, are not a man of “strategic brilliance” as you and you followers have led us to believe? – post by TransTracker

President George W. Bush, regularly trash-talks his way to World War III and his administration casually casts Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as this century’s Hitler (a crown it has awarded once before, to deadly effect)

  • And you haven’t done the same? Oh, right. I forgot. In your “hopeful image” of a “future worth creating” we were only supposed to overthrow Iran AFTER we overthrew the “nutcase,” as you say, in North Korea. “Nutcase” is not trash-talking though. – post by TransTracker

Those are fighting words to your average neocon — not to mention your average supporter of Israel, a good many of whom in Washington seem never to have served a minute in uniform.

  • And they would have been fighting words to you in 2003 as you evangelized to anyone who would listen about “why we are going to war, and why we’ll keep going to war,” which, in your “future worth creating,” included Iraq, followed by North Korea, and then Iran. And, oh ya, Tom, you too have never served a minute in uniform either. – post by TransTracker

If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don’t want a commander standing in their way.

  • But that’s good news, Tom! That way, they’ll still make it in time for your 2010 deadline! – post by TransTracker

And so Fallon, the good cop, may soon be unemployed because he’s doing what a generation of young officers in the U.S. military are now openly complaining that their leaders didn’t do on their behalf in the run-up to the war in Iraq: He’s standing up to the commander in chief, whom he thinks is contemplating a strategically unsound war.

  • Yes, he’s a real hero, standing up to Bush and his strategically unsound wars like Iraq. Why, he’s just like you….oh wait…. No, you were an architect of and cheerleader for the strategically unsound Iraq war, all while advocating an overthrow of the Iranian government too. Do you still get to be “The Strategist” when you provide strategically unsound advice, Tom? – post by TransTracker

He is as patient as the White House is impatient

  • Impatient like advocating the overthrow of three different countries in two different regions in less than ten years…which is what YOU advocated as late as 2004?!?! – post by TransTracker

the eager-to-please General David Petraeus in Iraq.

  • That’s rich! The guy who has done the most to perhaps clean up the mess that you and your chronies started is called “eager to please.” What does that make you, Tom? Were you “eager to please” in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and later when you called for Iraq, then North Korea, then Iran, then Colombia, then…. to be overthrown? Or were you just a power-hungry egomaniac? – post by TransTracker

Fallon was quietly opposed to a long-term surge in Iraq, because more of our military assets tied down in Iraq makes it harder to come up with a comprehensive strategy for the Middle East, and he knew how that looked to higher-ups.

  • But YOU, Tom, said that success in Iraq was the key to our success in the entire region. YOU have said yourself that security must come first. Come on, Tom. “Exporting security” is what makes us unique. Isn’t Petraeus just doing what you recommended, exporting security to the “non-integrating gap” of globalization? Isn’t that our job as full-time “gap Leviathan,” as you say? Do you need to rewatch your own briefing on YouTube? – post by TransTracker

And it is a testament to his skill, and to the failure of American diplomacy, that so much is left for this military man to do himself.

  • But YOU, Tom, said that diplomacy would not work in this region, which was the reason you advocated the invasion of Iraq in the first place….followed by the overthrow of Iran by 2010! – post by TransTracker

His calculus on this subject is far more complex than anyone else’s. He is neither an idealist nor a fantasist.

  • Well, that’s good. Does that mean he has not been influenced by your simplistic “hopeful image” of a future free of war secured by the use of preemptive war to force America’s “culturally neutral” form of economic globalization? – post by TransTracker

Last fall, it was reported in the press that Fallon had called General Petraeus an “ass-kissing little chickenshit” for being so willing to serve as the administration’s political frontman on the Iraq surge.

  • Ok…a claim that you have made yourself, Tom. – post by TransTracker

“Absolute bullshit,” Fallon tells me.

  • So, since you seem to be pretty sympathetic to Fallon’s views, does that mean that you agree with Fallon’s assessment that your position on Petraeus is “absolute bullshit?” – post by TransTracker

“I try to be reasonably predictable to my own people and very unpredictable to potential adversaries,” he tells me.

No wonder Fallon sticks out like a sore thumb with the neocons, who have the unfortunate tendency to come off as unpredictable to their allies and predictable to their enemies. Which is the opposite of strategy.

  • So, wouldn’t that mean that we shouldn’t have listened to your advice in 2004 when, in the last chapter of your book, you layed out a detailed, ten-step plan for “shrinking the gap?” Presumably, the Iranians can read New York Times best-selling garbage like your book? Does that mean that the strategy offered to us by “The Strategist” was actual
    ly “the opposite of strategy?” – post by TransTracker

If it seemed as though Fallon was downplaying the threat of North Korea’s missiles, it was because he preferred pushing a regional response that signaled a united front but still left the door open for North Korea to come in from the cold.

  • Which is the opposite of what you recommended in 2004, Tom–i.e. the removal of the “nutcase” in North Korea and the reunification of the Koreas. And, oh ya, BTW, a regional approach was the Bush Administration policy on North Korea, which got them in a lot of shit with Democrats and others who wanted to “go it alone” on North Korea. Ergo, Fallon’s position on North Korea was the SAME as the Administration’s. It was the OPPOSITE of YOUR position. Try to be a little clearer in the future about where we all stand, OK? – post by TransTracker

If anything has been sorely missing to date in America’s choices in the Middle East and Central Asia, it has been a strategic mind-set that consistently keeps its eyes on the real prize: connecting these isolated regions in a far more broadband fashion to the global economy. Instead of effectively countering the efforts of others (e.g., the radical Salafis, Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabists, Russia’s security services, China’s energy sector) who would fashion such connectivity to their selfish ends, Washington has wasted precious time focusing excessively on transforming the political systems of Iraq and Afghanistan, as though governments somehow birth functioning societies and economies instead of the other way around.

Waiting on perfect security or perfect politics to forge economic relationships is a fool’s errand. By the time those fantastic conditions are met in this dangerous, unstable part of the world, somebody less idealistic will be running the place — the Russians, Chinese, Pakistanis, Indians, Turks, Iranians, Saudis.

  • Oh yes, Tom, it’s real easy to connect up to the global economy in “broadband fashion” (WTF?) when people are blowing themselves up! Does this mean that you’ve given up on your idea of “exporting security” to the Middle East as the first step in forcefully integrating them into globalization? – post by TransTracker

Freeing the United States from being tied down in Iraq means a stronger effort in Afghanistan, more focus on Pakistan, and more time spent creating networks of relationships in Central Asia.

  • But, without Iraq, we will not have even finished step one in YOUR master plan, Tom….which, BTW, included NO MENTION of Afghanistan. Remember how you said 9/11 was a “gift” that would allow us to finally play “System Administrator” of globalization, beginning with Saddam’s overthrow and playing “full-time Leviathan” in the Middler East?? – post by TransTracker

Just the kind of incident that doughy neocons dream sweetly about.

  • Kinda like 9/11 was a “gift,” Tom? – post by TransTracker