Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 28, 2011

The Dumbest Joint Chief Of Staff Ever?

Via Tom Ricks Army General Martin E. Dempsey at the Senate hearing on his appointment as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (I don't find the transcript on C-Span's site but in the Google cache):

[L]ooking back on it, at least my own personal view about Iraq in 2003 was that Iraq had a particular problem, and it was a regime that was destabilizing in the region and that we should take action, that -- it was my recommendation that we should take action to change the dynamic inside of Iraq and that the region itself would become more stable. I'm not sure it turned out that way.

OMFG - This guy's new job is to be the principal military adviser of the president on military issues.

He though it was a good idea to blow up a totally defanged and isolated regime would be good idea for STABILIZATION in the Middle East?

The guy is supposed to have a Master of Science degree in national security and strategic studies. In which dollarstore did he buy that one?

I mean, it probably -- it is, but it didn't happen exactly as we intended it, and that's because I don't think we understood -- let me put it differently. I didn't understand the dynamic inside that country, particularly with regard to the various sects of Islam that fundamentally, on occasion, compete with each other for dominance in Islam, and so -- Shia, the Shia sect of Islam, the Sunni sect of Islam -- when we took the lid off of that, I think we learned some things that -- and I'm not sure we could have learned them any other way.

Gen. Dempsey has obviously never learned to read a book. There was no other way to learn about Shia-Sunni rivalry than by blowing up Iraq? And he had never bothered to learn about Iraq's internal divides before he decided it was fine to invade?

How can such a person be judged fit to counsel the president?

When Obama asks Dempsey about invading China what will he say? "Sure, its a small country with a few strange looking people. We'll be done with it in week or so."

With such Generals it is no wonder that the U.S. is incapable of winning any of the wars it starts.

Posted by b on July 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM | Permalink


that snippet of testimony should be used in a trial to convict him re the supreme int'l crime

Posted by: b real | Jul 28, 2011 12:55:43 PM | 1

b, dempsey is probably psycho enough to lie through his teeth, convincingly... which is probably why he was chosen.

i refuse to believe that the sunni/shia conflict was NOT orchestrated by israeli america... to the end of sickening iraqis to the point they'd quit killing each other and knuckle under to the empire.

it's probable that the iraqis eventually figured out how badly they were being used,are are just waiting for the empire to implode so they can get back to normal.

meanwhile, they're sitting on some of the biggest oil reserves in the world, which will become more valuable as time wears on...

and the poor dumb kurds, seduced and apparently abandoned by their buddies in israel... israel's pandering to kurdish independence was probably one of the prime causes of the israeli/turk split...

and bibi seems to have forgotten about his kurdish oil to haifa scheme... the one he was crowing about once the US invaded iraq... lord knows how long the israelis have been scheming on kurdish oil, which is the nearest oil of significance to israel.

google: netanyahu iraq oil haifa

here's that same old map...

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 28, 2011 1:08:06 PM | 2

What war? It was never a was always intended to be a permanent occupation. You don't build bases for the hell of it. Actually, he reveals the cards with his statement. Iraq went from U.S. Controlled Order via Saddam alliance to Uncontrolled Order via Saddam's refusal to play by the rules. Saddam was weakened, and Iraq, and its geostrategic position, were vulnerable to intervention from other countries, namely Iran, or at least that's the way the U.S. MIC saw it. In order to prevent that, and remedy the vulnerability, an occupation was in order, and a state of Controlled Chaos has manifested that is acceptable because it beats the other two alternatives, and there is loads of dough to be made, and plenty of spoils, with little to no opposition.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jul 28, 2011 1:33:15 PM | 3

it just looks to me like there's factions of slimeballs trying to con each other... israelis, israeli americans, jewish americans using israel as cover, old line american goy imperial fascists, benevolent global hegemonists, looters...

they all have somewhat different goals, but they're mostly concerned, for the time being, with grabbing control of oil... and as they try to con each other, the people who suffer are the people who always suffer in bullshit like this.

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 28, 2011 1:35:08 PM | 4

that's it. capital has been reduced to what it always was - a low group of grifters - grifting one another for nickels & dimes

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 28, 2011 2:38:38 PM | 5

giap says...

"...a low group of grifters - grifting one another for nickels & dimes..."

the wild card comes in when you're more concerned with "survival" than grifting... for instance, is israeli leadership in on the looting scheme, or do they really believe in israel?

nevermind the fact that jews existed for thousands of years before israel came into being.

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 28, 2011 2:47:12 PM | 6

well, maybe it is a good thing if this general is a fool. we could hope that he is incompetent too.

just think how it could be if he were extremely clever and effective...having so much firepower and resources at his disposal.

but as the old african saying goes, when elephants do battle, the grass suffers, so it is with the grifters. they will be fine but the marks and those in the way will pay the price of their greed and folly.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 28, 2011 3:02:25 PM | 7

"You don't build bases for the hell of it."

Building bases is a first rate way of transferring large amounts of money from the public to contractors, suppliers and money lenders. Whether there is a long term purpose for them is immaterial to the 'grifters' involved in the scam.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 28, 2011 3:18:11 PM | 8

Whether there is a long term purpose for them is immaterial to the 'grifters' involved in the scam.

Yeah, it may be immaterial to the grifters involved, but that doesn't mean it's immaterial to the rest of us, or to those who have long-term interests for the region and are in a position to see that their interests, and the interests of the short-sighted grifters, are satisfied. In otherwords, short-term rape and pillage and long-term geostrategic positioning are not mutually exclusive. They can, and are, happening concomitantly. That was my point, except I put more emphasis on the geostrategic part of the occupation versus the rape & pillage dimension.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jul 28, 2011 4:21:47 PM | 9

/Off Topic but the Libyan rebels have just killed their own Military commander.

Abdul Fatah Younis (General in Gaddaffi's Special Forces who defected in Feb) who was leading the military campaign on the rebel side was arrested by the rebels transition council on suspicion of his family still having ties to Gaddaffi. They have just announced he is now dead.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jul 28, 2011 6:20:48 PM | 10

Sound Track for this, 'The Dumbest Joint Chief Of Staff Ever'...

I'm fully convinced, Jr. and his team were NOT stupid, neither is this guy, however, they have a vested interest in you thinking they are... what they are is grandiose, methodical murders, thieves and liars with all the power, and money they will ever need, they are drunk on it, revel in their free hand to offer life or death just as little gods and they will do and say whatever they please, because there WILL be no consequences neither at hm or abroad.

I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God. ~Caligula

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 28, 2011 11:00:33 PM | 11

Unfortunately, my instinct is to agree with b's depiction of Dempsey as possibly the worst JCS ever. The Americans certainly seem to be the dumbest and most incompetent warmongers on the planet. But the fact that they're still launching fake wars, still robbing taxpayers blind (for no benefit to broader society) and getting away with it, suggests otherwise.

Ron Suskind summed it up in a passage to be found in
Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush
NYT Magazine, 17th October, 2004.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
The 'aide' referred to is generally agreed to be Karl Rove.

Almost 7 years on, that's precisely what and where we are - mere spectators to an overtly criminal enterprise.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 29, 2011 12:50:22 AM | 12

Well, if it makes you feel better to believe it's incompetence, then have at it. Prayer and religion make people feel better, too, but it doesn't make the precepts true.

Also, just because one individual in the scheme of things is incompetent, and I'm not saying this individual was, doesn't, by necessity, make everything that individual is associated with incompetent. The results are that by which this should be judged, and from my vantage, the results show that this has been a marvelous success up to this point. Empire is devouring everything in its sights, including itself, as is its destiny.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jul 29, 2011 7:21:52 AM | 13

the open thread is closed,

House of Reps passes bill requiring your ISP to spy on every click and keystroke you make online and retain for 12 months
look in ...if you dare.

Posted by: an idiot | Jul 29, 2011 11:22:17 AM | 14

an idiot, some of the commenters at BoingBoing indicate this language out of committee (not up for vote yet at the House, unless they passed it last night...) does not tract every keystroke, but will track all sites visited.

Anyone now for sure what it says? What it will do?

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 29, 2011 12:39:20 PM | 15

only can invite all you and b to :

Posted by: an idiot | Jul 29, 2011 1:06:05 PM | 16

maybe the guy is stupid and ignorant... maybe the official, visible, public chain of command is nothing but cover for the people who are really running things, and the official big wheels are kept so far out of the loop that they can make convincing little speeches, out of genuine ignorance and stupidity.

that opens a whole new can of worms.

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 31, 2011 3:24:38 PM | 17

These people (Bush and Dempsey) are not stupid or incompetent. They accomplished exactly what they set out to do.

Posted by: Albertde | Jul 31, 2011 3:55:43 PM | 18

i dont think bush realized how badly over his head he was until the invasion of iraq... judging from what seemed to be a near nervous breakdown in the runup to the war, as the realization dawned on him what was going on.

the only indication to counter that was his statement, twice, in public at townhall meetings, that's he'd seen the first plane hit the towers on television before he went in to read to the kids... implying prior knowledge o the attack, prior enough that they had time to set up video feeds from... who? ...the dancing israelis?

dempsey, to me, is an unknown quantity, but if we're to judge him by, for instance, the vietnam war and westmoreland, it's pretty obvious that the stats from the war were blown up as they worked their way up the chain of command, and by the time they got to westmoreland, they painted a pretty rosy picture.

i've always thought, too, that netanyahu is dumb as an ox, and was kept out of the loop about 9/11, otherwise he never would have said he thought 9/11 was such a good deal... he'd have had time to think up a better answer.

again, it's a matter of deciding how paranoid to be... keeping in mind that paranoia is useful if you keep it in its box.

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 31, 2011 4:34:15 PM | 19

December 4, 2001

"Well, Jordan, you're not going to believe what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my Chief of Staff, Andy Card -- actually, I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident.

"But I was whisked off there, I didn't have much time to think about it. And I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my Chief of Staff, who is sitting over here, walked in and said, "A second plane has hit the tower, America is under attack."

President Meets with Displaced Workers in Town Hall Meeting

January 5, 2002

"Anyway, I was sitting there, and my Chief of Staff -- well, first of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And you know, I thought it was pilot error and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake. And something was wrong with the plane, or -- anyway, I'm sitting there, listening to the briefing, and Andy Card came and said, "America is under attack."

President Holds Town Hall Forum on Economy in California


Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 31, 2011 5:16:47 PM | 20

as evidence of bush's stupidity, and disevidence of his prior knowledge, we could say that bush is too stupid to say what he really means, and didnt really see the first plane hit...

...which would explain why he almost broke when he finally realized what was gong on.

absent a real investigation...

meanwhile, arik naps.

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 31, 2011 6:02:22 PM | 21

Further to the prescient extract from Ron Suskind's NYT Mag 2004 article @ 12, is this similarly prescient 5-part article from Asia Times in 2007. It is called
Germany - The Re-engineered Ally by Axelbrot.
Here is a link to Part 1. The others parts follow on.

The crux of Axelbrot's thesis is that, in Germany, the actions and rhetoric of the elected representatives of the people no longer reflect the wishes of the people who elect them. When the article appeared I was left with the impression that 'democratic' Germany is not alone in that respect and that most 'democracies' are in a similar position.

It is now quite common among democracies for voters to elect candidates with the presumptive right to follow an agenda different from the platform on which they were elected - notably agendas which were not discussed in the run-up to the election.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 31, 2011 9:43:32 PM | 22

Following her resignation from the White House press corps, Helen Thomas was interviewed by Playboy magazine for the April, 2011, issue. She had several interesting things to say but the most memorable was her confession that she, and the other members of the press corps, devoted too much time to faithfully reproducing official propaganda, and too little time exploring what she referred to as the backstory.
In other words; stenography vs investigative journalism.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 31, 2011 10:23:05 PM | 23

here's hillary in new delhi "praising" the turkmenistan-afghanistan-pakistan-india pipeline...

Clinton praises TAPI pipeline

seeing as how the main thrust of american efforts in afghanistan seems to be aimed at thwarting pipeline construction, do you spose hillary is stupid and ignorant, or lying through her teeth, or what?

maybe this is the money quote from that article...

"TAPI is favored by Western powers over the Iran's pipeline project because of diplomatic concerns with dealing with Iran."

in other words, israel has vetoed the pipeline from iran, and israeli america is so worried about chinese access to persian gulf/central asia oil and gas that they're doing an "operation enduring turmoil" (google it) in afghanistan and pakistan to make pipeline construction impossible from turkmenistan... while hillary yaps about the benefits of TAPI.

are the indians stupid enough to fall for the clinton bullshit? ...will indians continue shooting themselves in the foot by pandering to neocons' intentions to dismantle pakistan, grab its nukes, and stop pipeline construction to china?

if israel is entitled to a samson option, is pakaistan?

Posted by: groundresonance | Aug 1, 2011 4:28:54 AM | 24

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