Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Plan

One of the slight of hand rhetorical devices trotted out ad nauseum by pundits on the left which strikes me as particularly odd is the "there is no plan" talking point. Of late it either leads, or follows on the heals of some disengenious pity party about the heroic and well intentioned troops who, though entitled to great leadership, are subject to the evil and bumbling ruling triumvirate of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

The new catch phrase, in the wake of failed congressional "cut and run" votes, is "the troops deserve better". Now, of course, the NY Times and the LA Times are not held to the same moral obligation to the troops, unless one believes that revealing classified operations during wartime is looking out for our welfare. For instance, America's newspaper of discord today again tried to protect us by publishing classified troop reduction plans. Were I to write about what is essentially troop movement information, I'd be looking at serious time at Leavenworth.

I have a Top Secret Clearance, and although one may legitimately wonder why an artist would need one, let me assure you that it comes in handy. Having a TS (SCI Eligible) has allowed me to stand in on the highest command briefings. As a result I'm able to position myself in my capacity as a combat artist, when either in Afghanistan or Iraq, where the action is most likely to happen.

My little studio back at Camp Fallujah was in a high security touch-pad entry building housing the working spaces of the 6th Provisional Civil Affairs Group. These guys were networking with everyone from the State Department, Navy Seabees, US Department of Agriculture advisors to all the NGOs (non-governmental organizations). They held at least one major briefing a week and the paper thin walls permitted hearing any number of in-depth discussions and planning sessions. I also attended one major status briefing given to the commanding general which covered every possible human need and endeavor necessary for nation building. Let me assure you, there is a plan.

With three election cycles successfully completed, the relative pacification of the city of Fallujah accomplished, 16 out of 18 provinces stabilized, a government created from scratch, Zarqawi eliminated, a civil war averted and an Iraqi army trained and fielded events bear witness to this ongoing plan. I find it odd that the press folks, always given their own thorough semi-classified overviews by military public affairs officers, have conveniently failed to acknowledge all the planning behind the multitude of coordinated missions being carried out. The professionalism of the armed forces is often alluded to, but with a careful side-stepping of the nuts and bolts. This is another way that the "support the troops, but not the war" is cultivated with PC deftness.

So I'm left feeling odd...little ole me knows there's a plan, 140,000 other GIs know there's a plan, civilians in various governmental and non-governmental organizations know there's a plan, and significant Iraqi politicians like the mayor of Tal' Afar praises the plan, and yet the liberal MSM is blissfully unaware. How so? They're obviously privy to other stuff, and more than willing to highlight even the most sensitive of material.

What's usually held up as the main evidence against there being a US plan, at least in the MSM? The ongoing violence. Do you think perhaps the enemy, seeing that the plan is working, is getting even more desperate? Apparently significant intelligence gathered on or near Zarqawi's rapidly cooling body bore testament to this fact. The terrorists don't perputrate more heinous acts because they think they're winning. On the contrary, they do it because they know they are loosing. Zarqawi lived long enough to know that it was the US that got him, and died admitting to himself that he had failed to ignite a Sunni-Shia civil war and that his swath of beheadings and suicide bombings had managed to turn-off significant support in Iraq for jihad.

Paradoxically, terrorism itself is the the greatest spokesman for the existence of an effective plan. The more things progress towards democracy in Iraq, the greater the lengths gone to either derail or defame the hard won advances. The derailing being done by insurgents and the defaming by.....well you know.

Today there was a very interesting posting over at the Daily Kos illustrating the bizarre twisted logic of the left. A Kos clone named DarkSyde has a piece titled Iraqi Government Embraces Democratic Proposals. Looks like the left is starting to realize that democracy might just take hold in Iraq and is ginning up the spin-a-trons to frame such success as somehow further proof of a failed strategy; it'll be very soon, now that the baby is taking its first steps, that moonbats will be rushing in to take credit. Believe me, the biggest nightmare for folks on the left isn't global warming, loss of personal freedoms, Christian jihad or a gay-marriage ban, no, it's American resolve and ingenuity carrying the day in Iraq and their failure to regain the White House. Apparently the Iraqi Prime Minister's proposed plan for US withdrawal is a "stinging rejection of Republican rhetoric". Don't they get it, reject our rhetoric all you want, especially if it means you're embracing democracy and acting with independent soverign resolve. Which is exactly what Iraq is starting to do....go figure. But like I said, there is a plan.


Beth* A. said...

You're a braver man than I (well, I guess that goes without saying, on several levels) Mike Fay, that you can even stomach a visit to the DU.
After finding out how that 'person' who runs it commented on the contractors hung off a bridge in Fallujah a couple of years ago with "s---- 'em", and now his more PG but equally flippant and as devoid-of-any-semblance-of-humanity "quaint" in reference to the torture and murder of 2 Soldiers, I find he and his minions worthy of nothing but revulsion.

Although, the merit in 'keep your friends close, and your enemies closer' makes me see the wisdom of your reconnaissance.

EdoRiver said...

Several Americans have worked for the government and it agencies in the past . And I would guess that there is always a plan for the way things should be. In fact every one who changes office insists on having their own distinctive plan with their name on it. The problem, from my understanding, isn't that there are no plans, but too many independent plans that go through separate channels and get partially implimented or ignored without adequate evaluation and coordination.
For example before the Iraq war Pentagon, State, and the White House were all involved in various Councils and Planning Groups. There were some interesting foreshadowing that occured but was lost in the shuffle, and heat and excitement.

Then there are PR plans, such as the Mission Accomplished plan. It is questionable from this time whether that served it purpose? If plans are made and the results of the plan are sufficiently vague or kept off the table for evaluation, then some of the important people the guys on the ground that impliment the dirty work, they don't get a sufficient chance to participate in the learning curve before the next plan.

No, I don't have privledge to the to p Secret plans you have listened in on, but I am reminded of the Biblical verse that goes something like, As you show your worth in the small matters of your life, so then you will show your value in the greater events..
I have been part of the implimenting of small civilian/government contracts and I doubt my observations are substantially different from what happens "up on Mt. Olympus" as they used to say.

EdoRiver said...

If we do a little Googling about "US military plans Iraq",
we can find PR of Pentagon officials announcing "plans" to reduce the troops by 20-30,000 by Spring of 2006.

Another item turns up from late 2003 that top generals "wanted to cut the troop number to 100,000" by summer of 2004.
Well if there was a plan, then "yes we are on target and troops can be cut in 2004". Or "No, we are not on target and troops cannot be cut."

Same goes for 2005, we are either "on" or "off" our plan's schedule.

MY POINT (because sometimes I lose sight of it,) 1. There are lots of plans. All these plans have difficulty going through one central plan admin. Follow up, "Why is that?" PR-obably because there are alot of people who want to have their name on their plan and they don't trust the chain of command to give it adequate attention and justice. So it is better to talk to a reporter and get the plan printed down and out for discussion rather than keep it hidden and it finally gets killed for "unjustified reasons".
2) There is the opposite force occuring. A plan may be flawed that is supported by A and B, C's plan may be better but it is shot down for flaws. No one, for real life reasons want to combine the two. So C just goes ahead and supports a plan he, and he is pretty sure A and B would admit to if they wanted to. Plan AB is the accepted plan and it is put into action, if it fails, the n C stands to gain over the issue. AB will lose credibility in the future, maybe, maybe not. The more disasterously Plan AB fails, the worse the personal ambitions of A and B will suffer, and C can honestly say to himself "I told you so". Who is at fault here?

2) the second problem with some plans I am familiar with that occur in any organization, Military organizations are certainly NOT IMMUNE Plans don't always contain "measurables". Because NO ONE wants to say the plan is "off Schedule". Why? Because then you can be evaluated more critically/carefully/objectively, if your plan has too many measurable objectives. So the safer plan is the plan that is really a goal, like our plan is to "win". This is a great plan ;-) It can't be criticized so easily. It can be accepted and put alongside other plans. the author of this plan gets his name and recognition. Probably he gets some unmeasurable points for "a good attitude that man Edo River"! But the danger of broad generalized goal-plans is that things can be attached to the goal without saying they are off-plan. Such as probably what Sanchez was faced with in Getmo. the plan was "get more information" so how you got it was actually flexible, and became more flexible on the ground at the scene.

This is what I mean by the way the small matters are handled, so goes the way of larger issues. The more details plans have, the more vulnerable they are to criticism (hence the guys making the plans want to restrict review to those who matter). the rationale for this is that

"Hey, we can't have endless review of plans , we have a time schedule to meet. I have vetted this plan of mine for comments long enough. Now is the time for movement." So discussion is closed off and implementation begins, even if people implementing the plan see disaster probably occuring. It7s too late the marching orders are given. Let7s just cross our fingers and hope for the best. this is real life.

3) Then there are the plans that CYA with alot of bogus measurables. I mean attention to non essesential matters with fine point detail, when the real issuse that will make or break the success of a certain stage are left unmeasurable. But you don't know the whole story. I didn't know the whole story. I just muttered a few back bites to my office cube mate and then went on with "the Plan." This is real life. What is maddening, as I can now recall, is the fear of the little guy down at the bottom for "not following the plan carefully enough". Blame seems to flow downward, doesn't it? I can say, "The plan was flawed." And of course THE MAN, would say, "Prove it." And you know that is too much trouble, I have several issues on my desk. It is much easier to just go as is, or to realize that too many of these encounters and one becomes just like commander C above, you do the plan with such exact detail, because you want the results to throw back on the inventors who claimed to be next to God when the plan was just a piece of paper. This ain't teamwork. I know, I know Im starting to rant.
Whereas the impression we get from Capt.(retired?) Fay is that the guys at the top are always right on the big issues. Why? Because they wouldn't be in their positions if they weren't the Best and Brightest. Sir, I have experienced BOTH kinds. I have worked (always as a civilian) under the guidance of people I would lay down my life for. And I have received documents and orders for this and that, that were clearly products of something other than the Best and Brightest. I can only imagine the scenarios. I was never around to overhear how the cooks decided on how much and how many, and when and where. If any of this is dismissed as pure fantasy...

So, I won't give you any more swords to stab me with, but if you are going to stay with sweeping generalizations, I want to counter with real life equally plausable generalizations based not on the guy at the top listening to TOP SECRET back and forths with the White House, but the guy who has to digest and swallow these "Plans" and then produce the success that they imply.

mdfay said...

Dear edoriver, the implication that I'm saying the "guys on top" are always right on the big issues is yours, and yours alone. Enjoy.

My central driving thesis is simply this, we are at war. War at best is very messy business. Mistakes are made, and will continue to be made. But the good fight must go on despite setbacks and the counter efforts of folks completely off task...namely the Left and a critical portion of the Democratic Party.

Please google Euston articulates about 95% of my personal beliefs, beliefs which I am willing to fight for, not just with ideas, words and heady abstractions, but with my dearest blood and treasure. I have been privy to hearing in depth planning and then privileged to witness its implimentation in Iraq and elsewhere. The "there is no plan" rhetoric rings completely and insultingly hollow in my well seasoned ears. It is simply a bold face calculated lie. There is no other reasonable explanation.

I am not a retired Captain, but rather a Reserve Warrant Officer currently on my fourth mobilization since 9/11. Whatever civilian career I had going prior to this epochal event is now securely in the dumpster.

Rob W said...

The Bush Administration leaked that. Bush is bugging out. Note the senior White House official discussing the plan? He definitely was the leaker.

Subsunk said...

Rob W said...
"The Bush Administration leaked that. Bush is bugging out. Note the senior White House official discussing the plan? He definitely was the leaker."

Right, Rob. That's must be some good shit you are smoking, girl. Why don't you share it with your buddies so you can all get stoned.


MissBirdlegs in AL said...

I'm a little ol' lady a long way from D.C., Iraq and Afghanistan, but I've known from Day 1 that there is a plan. I've also known that whether things went good or bad with the plan, the Spinmeisters of the Democratic Party would take the credit for bringing it about. I don't wear tinfoil or Duct Tape, I just pay attention!

Good post!