Issue – Let’s Get Back To A Defense Department BY Chef Sheila

Shinseki was right

Shinseki was right

No matter how many jihadists are dead, nothing serves al-Qaida’s maniacal cause like the United States occupying Iraq. As for our cause there, and making the case to sign up to fight and die for it: Even with five years to do it, our leaders have failed in defining it.

Barack Obama’s election isn’t the only reason why military recruitment is up. The sagging economy is No. 1. But Obama’s pledge to draw down forces in Iraq is a factor, too, a recruiter told USA Today.

And the pitiable appeal last week by al-Qaida’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, in which he indirectly called Obama a “house negro,” signals that bin Laden’s boys are losing their mojo in the face of a new foe. Indeed, the “negro” slur drew widespread denunciations by Muslims. Not good for holy warriors.


Ultimately Americans started to ask, in the words of one U.S. leader, “How many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many.” That leader: Dick Cheney, 1992. (I wonder if he calculated Iraqi casualties, as well.)

The invasion 11 years later was framed at first in terms of protecting Americans. Then it became “freedom on the march,” then “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.” It would have been fascinating to see George W. Bush try either, equally spurious, auxiliary pitch to Congress in 2003. It was unnecessary, though, since lies about WMD carried the day.

Since then, I’ve found my myself, someone born into military culture and a Navy retiree as well,  refusing to recognize the agency that occupies the Pentagon as the Department of Defense. It’s been the Department of Elective Military Options, or the Department of Acting Preemptively on Our Hunches or The Deartment of Right Wing Talking Points.

It hasn’t been about forging national consensus or drawing out an imperative to which the leaders making the case for war would commit their own children. It’s been a volunteer military serving in the role of global pest exterminator. Why invade Iraq? Not because our lives depended on it, but because we could.  Now, in equal parts because the Iraqis and American voters want us out, we are headed that way. And troops are headed in the direction of the Afghan hills.

As reflexive as it is to talk of Afghanistan as the “right war,” we need to ponder the limitations on a large occupying army. Gen. David Petraeus has. It can inflame the marginalized. It can martyrize insurgents. Ask the Russians.

While continuing to hunt bin Laden, a job for special forces, we must find ways to start minimizing our footprint and let Afghans be Afghans. That means talking with the Taliban. That means an international force supporting the Afghan government. That means a broader coalition than Bush’s “shoot em when you see the whites of their eyes” diplomacy could ever muster.  Iraqis must defend themselves and police their streets. So must Afghans. If we’re there by the thousands, we’re in the way of that.

Obama is right about taking out bin Laden wherever we can find him. But that’s not a job for armored columns and occupying forces. Let’s turn a corner. Get back to where the Pentagon isn’t the Department of Nation Building or the Department of Occupation.  Let’s find our way back to the Department of Defense.   

My thanks to John Young at the Waco  Tribune.  He said my thoughts better than I could this time.



Filed under Uncategorized

64 responses to “Issue – Let’s Get Back To A Defense Department BY Chef Sheila

  1. horsedooty

    nice post Chef Sheila.

    my question for today is “why is Joe in Washington all the time instead of NYC for Morning Joe?”

    Did they ever announce that or no?

    thanks, now back to your normal programing.

  2. chefsheila

    I don’t know why. It could be that he has a home in washiington or maybe MSNBC is moving some of the heavy hitters to be in the vicinity of where the action is going to be?

    A couple of years ago MSNBC only had Chris Matthews in DC and that is where there story is.

  3. chefsheila

    President Elect Obama’s announecements for the Security Team @ 10:40am eastern today.

  4. chefsheila

    Weakened warriors: has the Bush administration maxed out the military?

    That the Bush presidency has placed an enormous strain on the nation’s armed forces is hardly news. (The “active army is about broken,” Colin Powell told CBS’s Face the Nation as far back as 2006.) Less frequently noted are the long-term consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan for the military-consequences that could last, many experts now say, for a generation or more. Five signs of a military in trouble:


    “We’ve got too much war and too few warriors,” says Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate and Vietnam vet who is now a professor of international relations at Boston University. “The contingencies in Iraq and Afghanistan are consuming the Army and Marine Corps.”

  5. chefsheila

    Well, talk amongst yerselves.

  6. Nannymm

    Good Morning! I like your post, Sheila.
    “t’s been the Department of Elective Military Options, or the Department of Acting Preemptively on Our Hunches or The Department of Right Wing Talking Points.”
    LOL You do have a way with words! It would be funny if it weren’t so true. Let’s hope the DOD reverts back to its mission when Obama takes office. Frankly, I’m hoping we see major changes across the board at all agencies and departments. Bush has managed to politicize and upend virtually every agency of the government. Just look at Justice and EPA, for instance. It’s going to be quite a feet to straighten it all out.

  7. chefsheila

    Thanks Nanny,

    I know its all most too overwhelming

  8. chefsheila

    Remember, in honor of HIV?AIDS day, today.

    5 cents of every coffee you buy at Starbucks today is going to fund research

  9. dnd

    Great post Shelia. The new security team seems heavy on the soft power of diplomacy. We can only hope. That’s the only way we’ll be successful in Afghanistan. Just ask the Russians…

  10. chefsheila

    I noticed that too dnd,

    I wonder what they know that we don’t know? We can only assume that too much diplomacy needs mending after 8 long years of Cowboy Politics.

    Diplomacy may be the only strategy we have left.

  11. Sheila I’m not sure what is the right thing for us to be doing in Afghanistan. Though my gut tells me drawing down is not the right thing at this moment, but certainly what we are doing there is not working. Too many civilian deaths, we certainly have to work to reduce that. And we need to be working harder to improve the lives of the people.

  12. chefsheila


    Personally, I fear that we are the precipise in Afganistan, where all maybe lost unless we can somehow turn the tide with calm and anticipation from the otherside

    Of course, we may be too late by january of 2009

    I think that is all we have left in every Real World Situation for now.

  13. go back, click on edit, and spell my name correctly.

  14. dnd

    Here what we do in Afghanistan:

    1. Pull the troops out. This isn’t conventional warfare. Replace with special ops and more remote surveillance.

    2. Bribe the warlords.

    3. Pay the farmers to grow food, not poppies. The drug traffic is helping fund the Taliban.

    4. Develop and license the technologies that will get us and the rest of the industrialized world off of oil. Petro-dollars also fund the terrorists.


  15. Do we have enough Special Ops to act as an effective police force in the country?

  16. I’m glad Obama is restoring the ambassadorship to the UN to cabinet status.

  17. dnd

    Special Ops won’t police. They’ll work covertly to deal effectively with the bad guys. But yes, we need more of them.

  18. Well I think part of the countries biggest problem is a lack of an adequate national police force, so I can’t agree with you that withdrawing our troops at this time is the right thing to do. We have an obligation to protect those people and if we withdraw too quickly what is to prevent the Taliban from gaining even more control of the country outside of the capitol than they do now?

  19. dnd

    Afghanistan is ruled by tribes. A national police force won’t work. And they hate occupation more than they hate each other. Special Ops and payments can take care of the Taliban.

  20. dnd

    I saw Sarah Palin on the tube this morning, campaigning in Georgia for Chambliss. It made me wonder: what’s become of the $150,000 wardrobe? They said they were gonna give it to charity, but you’d think with such a touchy subject that they’d announce the donations or auctioning the clothing off on eBay for charity. Inquiring minds want to know: what’s become of the Palin shopping spree?

  21. How much you wanna bet she still has the clothing?

  22. dnd

    The National Bureau of Economic Research says it’s official: we’re in a recession. In fact we’ve been in a recession since December 2007. This means that:
    1. we’ve been in recession for a year.
    2. the last expansion didn’t last very long.

    As Carville said: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    ps. the “two successive quarters of negative GDP” reported by the media is NOT the definition of a recession. It’s a component, but not the definition.

  23. Nannymm

    I think most of already knew we were in recession and that it’s been going on for a while. Why does it take so long for them to make it official? It’s like they try to hide the reality for as long as they can get away with it.

  24. horsedooty

    wrt the cabinet selections today Colorado Bob wanted to know where were the Commies we were promised.

  25. dnd

    “wrt the cabinet selections today Colorado Bob wanted to know where were the Commies we were promised.”

    Well, Obama hasn’t announced Labor yet 😉

  26. chefsheila

    LOL I missed everything!!!! Oh Well, such is my day. I’ll see it over and over again on the evening line up

  27. chefsheila

    Tell Cbob, I said that all the commies high tailed it up to ALASKA. They want to be nearer to Russia. I hear you can see Russia from all points in ALASKA…. 😆

  28. chefsheila

    Time to go back to work……..whew!

  29. dnd

    Alaska is the most socialist state in the union. No taxes. Take from the oil companies, give to the public.

  30. Hey Sheila, that’s two for me today, Rice at the UN, and Gregory at MTP. I ROCK!

  31. chefsheila

    Sheila is kneeling down to Brian’s great week of predictions. 🙂 I believe we are even, now bring on somemore!

  32. dnd

    Well let’s see. I wanted Jeff Greenfield or Ted Koppel at MTP. I lost. None of my cabinet picks, so far have been Obama’s picks. I think we can safely say that the “dnd influence” is a myth.

  33. chefsheila

    😆 …..Oh you will always influence me dnd….for the worse or for the better? unknown at this point.

  34. Nannymm

    Way to go, Brian! You and Sheila are doing quite well!

  35. Sheila Rocks too, today I just Rock a little more!


  36. chefsheila

    Hi nanny! Haven’t sent my best to you today. 🙂

  37. dnd

    Thanks Shelia. I’m bound to win one eventually. Even a blind pig finds an acorn. A broken watch is right twice a day. I keep telling these bromides to myself 😉

  38. chefsheila

    This era is so new, its like scraping out the old gray matter and growing new.

    I doubt that anymore of my picks are right. I was researching what was out there in the Universities and taking educated guesses.

    The only wild card guess I got right and it was a last minute fly by my pants guess was Geithner.

  39. chefsheila

    So I wonder who gets the Dreaded 6pm hour on MSNBC?

  40. chefsheila

    Rachell was a great media win. I wonder if they are on a roll and can do it again.

  41. I’d love for them to give Andrea Mitchell the 6:00 slot, but I doubt she wants that regular a gig.

  42. chefsheila

    Thats it…..I was thinking of checking out Saddle Back Church. Not now. Pastor Warren has crossed the line with giving Bush a national medal of peace…….sigh……..

  43. chefsheila

    oh…thats “International Medal of Peace”

  44. dnd

    Maddow could easily replace Tweety when he moves to PA to run for senate. Or Gregory if he moves to MTP.

  45. chefsheila

    that would be weird losing Hardball after all these years.

    But there has to be someone for the 6pm hour now. She’s perfect in the 9pm slot. I even wait for her and I’ll watch her again later. I think she is so spot on.

  46. dnd

    Clueless that I am, could someone please inform me what roll Linda Douglass will play in the Obama administration?

  47. I guess Rick Warren has decided to skip over that whole gluttony sin issue! What a pig!

  48. chefsheila

    Has she been named yet?

    She was a campaign spokesman and kind of like the role Jack Palenti played in Clintons campaign. Making sure Clinton’s relationship with the press was fluid and remaining a liason between Press Corps and Campaign.

    very important nowadays. Roger Ailes was Bush Sr’s.

  49. horsedooty

    so who here would have thought that the Bush Admin would had a hand in screwing the banking and lending institutions.

    not me…ok I lie.

  50. horsedooty

    even Gov Good Hair (republican gov of Texas Rick Perry) is pissed at FEMA under a Republican admin for the lack of effort in clean up of the Texas coast caused by Hurricane Ike earlier this year.

  51. Nannymm

    I’d like to see Phil Donahue in the 6pm slot. MSNBC never should have canceled his show in 2003. They should apologize profusely and bring him back with a huge raise. Or they can bring back Dan Abrams. I liked his legal show. It would be nice to see someone cover legal issues again, especially if Congress starts looking into all the Bush wrong doings.

  52. Nannymm

    Doots, nothing Bush and his minions do surprises me anymore, unless they were to do something good or something well. Since I only expect bad decisions and major screw-ups from them, anything else would be a shock.

  53. Well I certainly surprised today when I checked my email and found three from TypePad. One had a link to update my profile page and after that I tried posting a comment at you know who’s site to see if I got my key back.

    Surprise, surprise I indeed got my key back.

    When it was TypeKey I never got any help from them so this really surprised me that they got back to my contact message so fast.

    Now lets see if the updated profile allows me to keep being able to comment over there without having to sign in all the time.

    As to David getting the MTP job I’m not really sure I agree with MSNBC’s decision on that. I really think that it should have gone to Chuck Todd as I believe that Tim was prepping and grooming Todd for the MTP slot when he was ready to retire.

    Good night and…

    God Bless.

  54. dog's eye view

    Good morning all. Anyone out there?

    Obama’s national security team and atty general picks seem to be going over very well.

    I marvel at the anchorbots, pundits or “political observers” who are surprised Obama is governing from the center. It was so obvious he would do so.

    Can you imagine what the markets and consumer confidence would look like if we knew we were getting 4 years of McCain-Palin?

    About 5th thought after hearing about Mumbai attacks: thank God we don’t have that gimmickmonger responding….And Sarah Palin saying “well, at least they didn’t hit New Delhi or Bombay….”

  55. dog's eye view

    Colleen: if you are out there lurking, plz email me. I could really use your guidance on a writing project. Thanks!

  56. dog's eye view

    Saw this yesterday in NYTimes: Obit for a 47 year old commenter turned blogger; Times called her a “prescient” voice on the mortgage crisis.

    Checked out the obit because 47 is just too young to go (ovarian cancer). I had not heard of her before, but we need more people like her, not less.

    Reading about the Tantas of the world gives me hope for internet-based journalism and idea-minded blogs. (Tanta was a mortgage professional who blogged, not a journalist per se.)

    So much of the major media has been co-opted, timid for corporate reasons, or just won’t commit the resources or time to a long-unfolding story. They fear not having an audience for it; too many papers are retooling to attract non-readers. Who wants to read an article that can fit on a cereal box panel? (Well, lots of folks, I guess. It’s USA Today’s stock in trade, and I hear they do it well although I prefer the longer stuff with more background.)

    And maybe blogs ARE a better place for work like Tanta’s — not deadline-driven, but a forum to disseminate her very accurate observations and she probably finetuned some of her thinking based on give and take and intelligent comments she received.

    Thank you for the Tantas, who are immersed in a profession and thus can speak of its actual state and flaws, and can blog (anonymously or otherwise) to share their observations.

    I did not read her work during her life, but it’s so good to hear there was a Tanta out there.

    Wonder if Bear followed her blog. I suspect so.

    RIP Tanta. Very sorry she won’t get to see how this subprime crisis/bubble economy/global shock plays out. (Reminds me of Tim Russert: first thought: oh, he won’t get to see who wins in 2008. As if the loss of one’s life and contact with loved ones is not enough. But you know they’d love to follow the story, terrestrially.)

  57. dog's eye view

    Here’s a Tanta column. What a great lead in for a finance-related post! Lively writing style, and you would have learned a lot from her and enjoyed doing so…

    (The fact that a dog, even a mythical one, is mentioned is icing on the cake…)

  58. *stretches and yawns*

    Morning peeps

  59. chefsheila

    Morning everyone…..trying to prop my eyelids open…..

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