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Companies in anti-war countries barred

Iraq Anti-war Foreign Countries Barred

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#21 MuseZack

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 05:08 PM

The hilarious thing here, in a gross incompetence sort of a way, is that France, Germany, and Russia are the three countries (outside the Saudis and Kuwait) holding the most in Iraq's outstanding foreign debt, which the State Department has been negotiating to get forgiven.  So just like that, Wolfowitz took away the main source of leverage to persuade them to go along with forgiving the debt.

In fact, someone inside the Administration (most likely recently installed fixer James Baker) seems to have managed to get the restrictions delayed:  http://www.forbes.co...rtr1176453.html

It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out, since two factions of the Bush Administration are as usual working at cross purposes.

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#22 prolog

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 05:11 PM

Canada currently has a couple of thousand troops (ie, a fair enough amount of our army) in Afghanistan, troops that have distinguished themselves serving on their own and with US forces.  Recently, a number of these troops were honoured with the Bronze Star, the highest medal given out by the US to foreign troops.  Canada has recently committed $300 million to re-building Iraq.  Quite frankly, what did we do wrong?  Germany and Russia are right in taking this to the courts.

Edited to be nicer.

Edited by prolog, 10 December 2003 - 05:15 PM.


#23 Rov Judicata

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 05:19 PM

MuseZack, on Dec 10 2003, 03:08 PM, said:

The hilarious thing here, in a gross incompetence sort of a way, is that France, Germany, and Russia are the three countries (outside the Saudis and Kuwait) holding the most in Iraq's outstanding foreign debt, which the State Department has been negotiating to get forgiven.  So just like that, Wolfowitz took away the main source of leverage to persuade them to go along with forgiving the debt.
What makes you think this is a cross-purpose?

Before, when anybody could get the contracts, there was one less chip to help get Iraq's debt forgiven. Now, "Eligibility to Receive Contracts" is on the table. Given how quickly the Pentagon wants to fill the contracts, it may even give the governments incentive to reach a decision faster.... instead of letting them take the contracts before they actually DO anything. I have no idea whether it will work or not, but it seems like a good way to play your cards to me.

There are times when Bush's left-hand doesn't know what his right-hand is doing... but this doesn't strike me as one of them.

Edited by Javert Rovinski, 10 December 2003 - 05:24 PM.

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#24 Ilphi

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 05:51 PM

I think the policy is a good idea. I was thankful when Bush did give Britain the chance to get in on some of these contracts finally. The ability for countries (especially ones that arn't superpowers) to wage war is finite, and put simply if we're to continue with the Coalition of the Willing then the supporting countries need money to rebuild their economies and then their armed forces again.

It seems perfectly sensible for me. USA, Britain, Australia, etc put themselves out to help the Iraqi people, and now get a little help to rebuild what recources they exhausted in this endevour.
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#25 the 'Hawk

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 05:59 PM

ZipperInt, on Dec 10 2003, 01:50 PM, said:

**Glad Chretien is leaving on Friday** :glare:
I know I'll be raising a glass to see him off. So long, pallie. Thanks for nothin'.

Of course, it's going to be a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Still, it's an excuse to party.

End threadjacking. ;)
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#26 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 07:04 PM

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Hawk: Of course, it's going to be a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

At least Martin speaks something that resembles English.., ;)

Quote

Prolog: Quite frankly, what did we do wrong?

I think that would be not supporting the war in Iraq…
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#27 Rhea

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 07:29 PM

G1223, on Dec 10 2003, 10:29 AM, said:

I did Dan. I took Indviduals to be single people. If you had said What about multinational Corportaions that have HQ's in France being barred I would taken it  another way.

Symantics aside France took a deliberate stand against the US it is paying the price. Or is there to be not fallout for supporting Saddam?
That doesn't make any sense.

If the contracts were actually *with* the government of France, say, then I'd say "tough beans." But how exactly are corporations located in France or Germany supposed to have any control over their government's actions? And how is punishing those who *AREN'T* responsible for those policies sending any kind of message to the real guilty parties?
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#28 Uncle Sid

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 08:11 PM

Again...  Is the US the only country where corporations are seen as being capable of having influence on government?  I mean, either a corporation can or cannot have influence.  Which is it?  

Is it:

We need to suspect Cheney/Bush because they have links to Halliburton/McDonnell-Douglas/the Defense Industry and are therefore warmongers

Or is it:

But how exactly are corporations located in the US/France/Germany supposed to have any control over their government's actions?

I mean, you say that these French companies might not have any contracts with the French government, but neither do US defense contractors until they actually GET those contracts from the US government.  Where were these French companies when the debate on the war was going on in their own country?  Oh, that's right, they were on the side of the French government so that they could collect the unpaid bills that the Iraqis already had with them.  

Come on, even I will admit that US corporations have some influence on any government in the US, so why is it so difficult to believe that other similar Western countries also have such corporate hooks?  Places like France and Germany have some very large corporations that have quite a bit of clout, not to mention a lot of nationalized/subsidized industries as well.  What happened is simple.  They opposed the war to try and protect their investment in the Saddam Hussein regime, and now they are complaining in order to get the contracts in order to make up for the money that they stand to lose if they are forced to forgive Iraqi debt.  The problem is that they didn't support the actions that made the contracts possible, so why is it that the US is required to collect their money for them by way of giving them contracts?

Yes, as a diplomatic move in parallel to get the Iraqi debt forgiven, it is at cross purposes.  On the other hand, it is 100% possible that the debt might get itself cancelled so that these countries look like they are not simply in the game just to get their money.  In the end, France/Germany could end up trapping themselves with their own rhetoric.  In any case, I see no reason that they should be rewarded for their obstructionism in this case just so that we can save their investments.

Finally, as to individuals instead of companies being hurt by this, I just have to scratch my head.  Nothing smaller than a corporation has any chance of running an operation of any substance internationally.  It may not be a huge corporation, but you don't have the ability to operate in a foreign country hundreds of miles away if you are some mom and pop business.  Indeed, what sort of work would an individual do in Iraq?  It's quite clear that contracts for anything at all substantial in Iraq are going to corporations, and corporations do have power in industrialized societies.
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#29 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 08:21 PM

I Literally laughed out loud when I heard this on the news...especially when the anchor explained how those who opposed the US war were pissed because they now weren't going to share in the profits...

Guess Bush meant it when he said "You're either with us or against us."

It's time these countries realized their actions have consequences...They're shouting "It should be about what's good for the Iraqi people!" But, where were they when Saddam was brutalizing the Iraqi people??? I'll tell you where they were...They were trying their best to stop the US war?

Well, now it's time to pay the piper and accept the consequences of their actions...or lack there of.
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#30 EvilTree

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 08:29 PM

What is all this bitching about?

US, being the holder of the string of the purse, has the right to award contracts to whoever they want.
Would the bitching be same if US used the same standards to award contracts for something else?

So what if some nations are miffed because they won't get some of lucrative contracts?

Edited by EvilTree, 10 December 2003 - 08:31 PM.

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#31 Gilgamash

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 08:58 PM

MuseZack, on Dec 10 2003, 10:08 PM, said:

The hilarious thing here, in a gross incompetence sort of a way, is that France, Germany, and Russia are the three countries (outside the Saudis and Kuwait) holding the most in Iraq's outstanding foreign debt, which the State Department has been negotiating to get forgiven.  So just like that, Wolfowitz took away the main source of leverage to persuade them to go along with forgiving the debt.

In fact, someone inside the Administration (most likely recently installed fixer James Baker) seems to have managed to get the restrictions delayed:  http://www.forbes.co...rtr1176453.html

It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out, since two factions of the Bush Administration are as usual working at cross purposes.

Zack
I couldn't disagree more.

1) This is an excellent way to pressure these governments to get with the program and provide a lot more in the way of substantive assistance than simple debt forgiveness.  At this point, we have absolutely no leverage to get them to change their positions either way -- creating a carrot to do exactly that is long overdue.

2) The linkage to debt forgiveness isn't altogether clear.  Forgiving the debts of the deposed regime is in the best interests of the governments involved -- intransigence on this issue will ultimately harm them a lot more in the long run.  In any event, the new government of Iraq could simply decide that those debts do not apply to them because they are in essence a "new" state.  But I don't think it will come to that.

3) The limits have only been applied to the $18B or so in reconstruction work funded by Congress.  There's another $13B in international funds that are fair game for everyone.  Clearly, the intransigents may have a piece of the pie if they so desire; but rightly, their access to the pie is in proportion to the contributions they have made in the baking of it.

4) Don't cry for France and Russia, who managed to squeeze billions of dollars a year from oil contracts under the old regime -- every dime of it blood money as far as I'm concerned, earned at the expense of 26 million people who suffered under a brutal dictator and a completely ineffectual sanctions regime that these governments insisted on perpetuating.  

5) If I have one problem with how we're cutting France, Germany and Russia out of the picture, it's that there's a loophole ten miles wide: companies from these countries can still compete as subs on any bid they like.  Coming from the government contractor business as I do, I can tell you with metaphysical certitude that this essentially amounts to no restriction at all.  At best, it simply creates an additional but perfectly surmountable barrier-to-entry.

Incompetent?  Hardly.

ADDENDUM:  With regard to the delay of the RFPs.  This is not a new occurrance.  Questions from bidders are routinely taken in advance of an RFP release, and I would imagine -- given the nature of these contracts and the restrictions that have already been announced -- that there are questions aplenty.  An RFP is rarely (if ever) released day-and-date w/r to when the government first indicates it will be.  I have literally waited for months on solicitations that were far more straightforward on every level than I expect these will be, with or without the diplomatic wrinkle.

In any event, I think you're reading way too much into the tea leaves.  I doubt that the restrictions on who can and cannot prime these proposal efforts will change between now and when the solicitations are published.

Edited by Gilgamash, 10 December 2003 - 09:07 PM.


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#32 G1223

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 09:16 PM

Gilgamash, on Dec 11 2003, 01:58 AM, said:

4) Don't cry for France and Russia, who managed to squeeze billions of dollars a year from oil contracts under the old regime -- every dime of it blood money as far as I'm concerned, earned at the expense of 26 million people who suffered under a brutal dictator and a completely ineffectual sanctions regime that these governments insisted on perpetuating.
Thank You Ash that is what I said earlier. I guess it does take a skilled wordsmith to make it plainer.
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#33 MuseZack

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 11:27 PM

From the New York Times--

http://www.nytimes.c.../11PREX.html?hp

An excerpt:

President Bush found himself in the awkward position on Wednesday of calling the leaders of France, Germany and Russia to ask them to forgive Iraq's debts, just a day after the Pentagon excluded those countries  and others   from $18 billion in American-financed Iraqi reconstruction projects.

White House officials were fuming about the timing and the tone of the Pentagon's directive, even while conceding that they had approved the Pentagon policy of limiting contracts to 63 countries that have given the United States political or military aid in Iraq.

Many countries excluded from the list, including close allies like Canada, reacted angrily on Wednesday to the Pentagon action. They were incensed, in part, by the Pentagon's explanation in a memorandum that the restrictions were required "for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States." [Page A18.]

The Russian defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, when asked about the Pentagon decision, responded by ruling out any debt write-off for Iraq.

The Canadian deputy prime minister, John Manley, suggested crisply that "it would be difficult" to add to the $190 million already given for reconstruction in Iraq.

White House officials said  Mr. Bush and his aides had been surprised by both the timing and the blunt wording of the Pentagon's declaration. But they said  the White House had signed off on the policy, after a committee of deputies from a number of departments and the National Security Council agreed that the most lucrative contracts must be reserved for political or military supporters.

Those officials apparently did not realize that the memorandum, signed by Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, would appear on a Defense Department Web site hours before Mr. Bush was scheduled to ask world leaders to receive James A. Baker III, the former treasury secretary and secretary of state, who is heading up the effort to wipe out Iraq's debt. Mr. Baker met with the president on Wednesday.


I could care less about the morality of cutting out France, Germany, and Russia-- their support of Saddam's dictatorship was despicable, even if they were far from alone in this:

http://www.gwu.edu/~...SAEBB/NSAEBB82/

But on a tactical level of achieving our goal of getting the crushing Saddam-era debt retired and the aid spigot to open, this is pure unadulterated stupidity, and people in the White House are even saying so.  Which is what you get for letting the Pentagon make its own foreign policy.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

P.S.  A State Department spokesman confirms Ash's point about subcontractors:

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher added that while the prime contracts would go to coalition members, those companies could choose their own subcontractors.
"Subcontracting is open to companies from virtually all nations in the world," he said.
The restriction on who is eligible to bid on these prime contracts applies only to direct U.S. assistance, Boucher said.


http://www.cnn.com/2...acts/index.html

So in real-world terms, the restriction is close to meaningless except to deliver a public f--- you to the troika of France, Germany, and Russia-- which plays great on talk radio but does nothing to get these countries on board in supporting the reconstruction efforts, where (loan forgiveness aside) France's experience in the Arab world, Germany's money, and Russia's long relationship with the Iraqi military and security apparatus could really help us.

Edited by MuseZack, 11 December 2003 - 12:45 AM.

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#34 Orpheus

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:59 AM

Okay, let me get this straight...

There's a substantial contingent here who thinks that corporations not only can, but should deliberately sway the foreign policies of their nations, if they think a certain foreign policy will be more profitable for them? If you say that, then CEOs and boards have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders to manipulate foreign policy as much as they can to scoop those billions. They not only can, but MUST.

Look, it happens -and more than we like to think- but I, personally, am opposed to this practice, and therefore opposed to any argument that doesn't merely defend it, but demands it.

Legally enforced corruption? Nein Danke!

#35 Gilgamash

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:36 AM

MuseZack, on Dec 11 2003, 04:27 AM, said:

From the New York Times--

http://www.nytimes.c.../11PREX.html?hp

I could care less about the morality of cutting out France, Germany, and Russia-- their support of Saddam's dictatorship was despicable, even if they were far from alone in this:

http://www.gwu.edu/~...SAEBB/NSAEBB82/

But on a tactical level of achieving our goal of getting the crushing Saddam-era debt retired and the aid spigot to open, this is pure unadulterated stupidity, and people in the White House are even saying so.  Which is what you get for letting the Pentagon make its own foreign policy.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

P.S.  A State Department spokesman confirms Ash's point about subcontractors:

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher added that while the prime contracts would go to coalition members, those companies could choose their own subcontractors.
"Subcontracting is open to companies from virtually all nations in the world," he said.
The restriction on who is eligible to bid on these prime contracts applies only to direct U.S. assistance, Boucher said.


http://www.cnn.com/2...acts/index.html

So in real-world terms, the restriction is close to meaningless except to deliver a public f--- you to the troika of France, Germany, and Russia-- which plays great on talk radio but does nothing to get these countries on board in supporting the reconstruction efforts, where (loan forgiveness aside) France's experience in the Arab world, Germany's money, and Russia's long relationship with the Iraqi military and security apparatus could really help us.
I'm not debating timing, I'm debating policy.  As a matter of policy, I have no issues with limiting the solicitations for prime contractors to companies from coalition nations, and in fact I think it's the right thing to do.  I have yet to hear an argument as to why we should directly allow France, Russia and Germany to profit from their contrarian positions, in effect allowing them to eat their cake and have it, too.  Indeed, I would take it further and close the loophole for sub-contractors because it amounts to a difference that makes no difference in the broad strokes.

All of which brings up two more issues:

1) The effected countries really have no grounds from which to complain about anything -- nothing prevents their companies from participating in the reconstruction effort.  And in fact, it could be argued that the subcontractor loophole was a direct sop to that interest, not to mention the "expertise" factors that you describe.  All of which points to a) the intent of the restriction as non-punitive and b) the intent of the whining as wholly political.

2) The government restricts prime contractors on RFPs all the time.  The intent of these restrictions range from supporting small or minority-owned businesses to preserving particular types of expertise, or maintaining non-governmental capability at universities and research institutions.  Designing an RFP that is intended to support our coalition partners is hardly outside the scope of common business practice, and is in fact consistent with DoD procurement history.  (And having personally had to figure out ways to jump through these very hoops in pursuit of the almighty buck, I can tell you stories that would curl your hair).

The President is probably right to be pissed off at a) the presentation of the policy and b) the timing of it, but this has nothing to do with whether or not DoD was right to design the solicitations in the way that they did or whether or not State was right to set up phone calls with Putin, Schroeder or The French Emperor.  They were both right -- the problem is that State and DoD didn't coordinate on tactics.  No malicious intent there, methinks, nor do I believe that this is a reflection of the competence of either Department.  Both organizations are caught up in the middle of history as it's being made, and as a result there will be days like this.

But when all is said and done, I would be very surprised if anyone is talking about this in a few weeks.  I would be even more surprised if France, Germany and Russia don't forgive the Iraqi debt, eventually commit troops or logistical support to the reconstruction and otherwise get with the program.

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#36 Gilgamash

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:41 AM

Orpheus, on Dec 11 2003, 05:59 AM, said:

Okay, let me get this straight...

There's a substantial contingent here who thinks that corporations not only can, but should deliberately sway the foreign policies of their nations, if they think a certain foreign policy will be more profitable for them? If you say that, then CEOs and boards have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders to manipulate foreign policy as much as they can to scoop those billions. They not only can, but MUST.

Look, it happens -and more than we like to think- but I, personally, am opposed to this practice, and therefore opposed to any argument that doesn't merely defend it, but demands it.

Legally enforced corruption? Nein Danke!
I don't think we're talking about manipulation of policy so much as the recognition that money makes economies run.

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#37 Uncle Sid

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:50 AM

Quote

There's a substantial contingent here who thinks that corporations not only can, but should deliberately sway the foreign policies of their nations, if they think a certain foreign policy will be more profitable for them? If you say that, then CEOs and boards have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders to manipulate foreign policy as much as they can to scoop those billions. They not only can, but MUST

I don't actually see anyone saying that really.  I think that the farthest that people have gone is to say that it does happen and that, additionally, economic issues played a big part in the process of determining the policies of the big opponents of action.  Therefore, since the reality is that business do affect these decisions, it's not unfair for them to also pay the price for backing the wrong horse.  

Now that you bring it up, though, I think it's absolutely critical that business do get some sort of input into the politcal process.  After all, politics can affect business very closely and if a government messes with too much, it can really screw up the economy.  While we are electing presidents and other leaders based on the track-record of the economy during their term in office, or that of the current incumbent, we are going to get leaders who try and monkey with the economy.  It seems only fair that businesses are allowed to get enough input to avoid public-opinion bound leadership from undermining their ability to do business.  As long as we have politicians who are able to affect the business cycle, it is critical that there be some means by which businesses can provide input and perhaps even curtail well-meaning, but economically inept leaders.  

I don't want a business controlling my leaders any more than anyone else does, but I certainly don't want Joe Sixpack's chosen leader to run the economy without any reference to economic reality either.  There needs to be some level of give and take.
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#38 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:52 AM

I'm sorta in the middle.  On the one hand the countries that opposed the war HAD to know they could face this.  Hello.  Wait.  Oh crap.  There is no other hand.  The US holds the purse strings.  Everyone else can deal with it.

I can't believe I just typed that but there it is.  

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#39 MuseZack

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 02:08 AM

Quote

The President is probably right to be pissed off at a) the presentation of the policy and b) the timing of it, but this has nothing to do with whether or not DoD was right to design the solicitations in the way that they did or whether or not State was right to set up phone calls with Putin, Schroeder or The French Emperor.  They were both right -- the problem is that State and DoD didn't coordinate on tactics.  No malicious intent there, methinks, nor do I believe that this is a reflection of the competence of either Department.  Both organizations are caught up in the middle of history as it's being made, and as a result there will be days like this.

I've got an idea.  Maybe we could get a person in the White House to ride herd on these interagency issues, help the different agencies coordinate policy with each other, introduce the right hand to the left one, and otherwise help avoid awkward situations like having the President hit countries up for support hours after the Pentagon has publically rebuked them.  We could call this person, oh, I don't know, the National Security Coord-- nah, how about National Security Advisor?  That has a snappy ring to it.   :devil:


Seriously, will these countries eventually come around?  Maybe so.  But delays from botched diplomacy and poor planning cost lives.  And we've lost too many lives already from mishandling the post-Saddam situation...
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#40 Gilgamash

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 02:16 AM

MuseZack, on Dec 11 2003, 07:08 AM, said:

Quote

The President is probably right to be pissed off at a) the presentation of the policy and b) the timing of it, but this has nothing to do with whether or not DoD was right to design the solicitations in the way that they did or whether or not State was right to set up phone calls with Putin, Schroeder or The French Emperor.  They were both right -- the problem is that State and DoD didn't coordinate on tactics.  No malicious intent there, methinks, nor do I believe that this is a reflection of the competence of either Department.  Both organizations are caught up in the middle of history as it's being made, and as a result there will be days like this.

I've got an idea.  Maybe we could get a person in the White House to ride herd on these interagency issues, help the different agencies coordinate policy with each other, introduce the right hand to the left one, and otherwise help avoid awkward situations like having the President hit countries up for support hours after the Pentagon has publically rebuked them.  We could call this person, oh, I don't know, the National Security Coord-- nah, how about National Security Advisor?  That has a snappy ring to it.   :devil:


Seriously, will these countries eventually come around?  Maybe so.  But delays from botched diplomacy and poor planning cost lives.  And we've lost too many lives already from mishandling the post-Saddam situation...
Like I said, I agree that timing and coordination were issues -- but it's not Condoleeza Rice's responsibility to tell State and DoD how to do their jobs.  Lesson learned from a unique situation, and I doubt that it will happen again.

As for post-bellum Iraq, I think we've done a more than adequate job.  Are things perfect?  Hardly.  Are they as bad as the media would like to portray them?  Not even close.  But if anything, the administration should be commended for making adjustments when adjustments have been called for.  Given the number of disasters predicted by the naysayers which have steadfastly refused to come to pass, I think that our diplomatic efforts and planning activities have been far more successful than not -- and consistently more effective than is generally acknowledged.

"Ashley is a machine for turning Diet Coke™ into screenplays."



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Iraq, Anti-war, Foreign Countries, Barred

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