Thank Clinton for Speedy Victory in Iraq - Lawrence Korb


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Jeff White
May 15, 2003, 11:04 AM
Well, I guess it had to happen...wonder what else Clinton wants to take credit for?


Boston Globe
May 13, 2003
Pg. 15

Thank Clinton For A Speedy Victory In Iraq

By Lawrence J. Korb

WHILE IT is understandable that President George W. Bush and his secretary of defense are receiving plaudits for the relatively swift military victory in Iraq, the fact of the matter is that most of the credit for the successful military operation should go to the Clinton administration.

As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld noted, the battle plan that led to the American success was that of General Tommy Franks, an Army officer appointed to head the Central Command by the Clinton administration. More important, the military forces that executed that plan so boldly and bravely were for the most part recruited, trained, and equipped by the Clinton administration.

The first Bush defense budget went into effect on Oct. 1, 2002, and none of the funds in that budget have yet had an impact on the quality of the men and women in the armed services, their readiness for combat, or the weapons they used to obliterate the Iraqi forces.

Given the way that Bush and his surrogates disparaged Clinton's approach to the military in his 2000 campaign, this is ironic. The president and his advisers claimed that Clinton had diminished the armed forces' fighting edge by turning them into social workers and sending them too often on ''useless'' nation-building exercises. These same people also claimed that Clinton had so underfunded the military that it was in a condition similar to that which existed on the eve of Pearl Harbor.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2000, Vice President Dick Cheney summed up the Bush team's sentiment toward what Clinton had done to the military: He went around the country telling the military and the nation that help and additional support were on the way for our troops.

Anyone examining the facts would know that these claims were bogus. The Clinton administration actually spent more money on defense than had the outgoing administration of the first President Bush. The smaller outlays during the first Bush administration were developed and approved by Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who were then serving as secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff respectively.

Clinton's last secretary of defense, William Cohen, turned over to Rumsfeld a defense budget that was higher in real terms than what James Schlesinger had bequeathed to Rumsfeld when he took over the Pentagon for the first time in 1975 at the height of the Cold War.

Not only did Clinton spend a large amount of money on the military; most of it was spent wisely. In the first Persian Gulf War, less than 10 percent of the bombs and missiles that were dropped on Iraq were smart weapons. That number jumped to 70 percent during this war because the Clinton administration ordered large quantities of upgraded munitions that made these ''dumb'' weapons smart. The Clinton administration also invested heavily in the technology that gave the on-scene commanders a much more vivid picture of the battlefield than a decade ago.

It was the Clinton administration that improved the accuracy of the Tomahawk cruise missile and upgraded the Patriot missile, which was so much more effective this time than the original Patriot in the first Persian Gulf War. The Clinton administration also kept the quality of our military personnel high by closing the gap between military and private sector compensation, a gap that the first Bush administration had allowed to grow, and improving retirement and health benefits for military retirees.

So if this latest military effort warrants a victory parade for the troops, let's insist that Clinton and his secretaries of defense are invited. They deserve it. And if the Bush administration wants to learn how to rebuild the nation of Iraq, they might ask their predecessors how to go about it.

Lawrence J. Korb, director of national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

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UnknownSailor
May 15, 2003, 11:10 AM
Someone needs to remind this windbag that one of the first things Clinton did on gaining office was to slash the DoD budget by over 100 Billion, and then proceded to boost our OPTEMPO by over 200%, all the while letting the DoD budget stagnate at about the same levels throughout his entire 8 years in office.

More with less sucks ???, I can attest to this personally.

Mike Irwin
May 15, 2003, 11:13 AM
Had Clinton or Gore been in office, they'd still be cowering under their frigging desks apologizing to the Arab world for the loss of Arab lives on September 11, 2001.

They would have emerged just long enough to lob a few missiles at completely worthless targets, claimed victory, and recamped under the desk to wait for the next horrific act of terrorism on American soil.

Thanks, no thanks.

Jeff White
May 15, 2003, 11:58 AM
This is the way I experienced the Clinton years.....

Jeff


Clinton's military

Some in the military are chuckling over assertions by former aides to President Clinton, who say his military won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Never mind the fact that he had eight years to get Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, say some rank-in-file members who contacted us. In the late 1990s, the military's combat readiness had reached such a low point that Republican senators had to threaten the Joint Chiefs of Staff to come to Capitol Hill and testify about the sorry state of affairs. Their testimony led to a big influx of cash.

A longtime Army officer tells us: "Jokes within the military during Clinton's reign reflected the 'Meals on Wheels' mentality. We dreaded the 'Snacks on Tracks' and 'Green Beret Buffets' missions. The bottom line is that had Clinton had his way, the military would have been decimated and marginalized. The truth is that the military fought him tooth and nail every step of the way. The military that prevailed in Afghanistan and Iraq did so in spite of Bill Clinton. I have been in the military since President Nixon and all I can say is, thank God for President Reagan's vision and the way President George W. Bush has revived it."

Don Gwinn
May 15, 2003, 12:02 PM
Thank Clinton? I don't think so.

Thank goodness our military remained strong enough to handle this war despite Bill Clinton, sure.

The writer also forgets the one thing the Bush administration turned around completely upon taking office--morale. It'd be interesting to ask Tommy Franks whether he's happier working under Bush than he was under Clinton, wouldn't it?

Waitone
May 15, 2003, 02:15 PM
Seems I remember a story toward the end of Clinton's regime which said the US Army ran out of 9 mm ammo. Training would have to be appropriately cut back.

Obviously I err since Mr. Kolb assures me Clinton's military just won a war.

BowStreetRunner
May 15, 2003, 08:21 PM
pure liberal damage control
they didnt want us to go there
they wanted us to lose
and now they want us to thanks them
oooooooooooooook
BSR

Lone_Gunman
May 15, 2003, 08:55 PM
I am dumb with wonderment over Korb's comments.

capt_happypants
May 15, 2003, 10:21 PM
The problem with Korb's argument is that many weapons systems have long gestation periods. In simple terms, the Clinton administration really can't take credit for military advances, since the decisions were made years before El Pantalones arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Patriot missile system first began under Carter, developed under Reagan, and was deployed by Bush I. JDAM gestated under Bush I, and was deployed by President Chuckletrousers. Reagan gets much of the credit for Aegis, the M-1 Abrams, the B-1, and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but those weapons were designed in the mid-to-late 70s.

Clinton was a direct beneficiary of the Reagan / Bush build-up. We had so much military "capital," if you will, that Clinton's shameful neglect wasn't as disastrous as it should have been.

The Clinton Administration can take credit for two things: the botched raid in Mogadishu led to a pair of critical improvments in gear and training. The "Inteceptor" body armor was developed in response for a lighter vest that could stop 30-caliber AP rounds (some of the Rangers removed the rear plate of their vests, and were subsequently shot though the back). The IBV has saved lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is a welcome improvement. As for training, the Army and the Marine Corps have emphasized urban combat, and our relatively light losses during MOUT operations in Iraq reflects the realism and brutality of our training.

D.W. Drang
May 16, 2003, 01:26 AM
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Oh, yeah, the most stunning victory in military history thanks to CLINTON?!?!?! I DON'T THINK SO!:scrutiny:

"Paging Lawrence Korb! Lawrence Korb to Urinalysis station!" :evil:

Gee, just how quick we would have won if klintoon HADN'T gutted the military! Gutted? Emasculated more like! :cuss:

Gods, how I hate these commies...:fire:

Unisaw
May 16, 2003, 01:42 AM
Korb's article is more effective than syrup of Ipecac. What a moron.

12.7x99mm
May 16, 2003, 02:19 AM
Oh Jeeze not this stuff again. Clinton needs to go away forever

Dash Riprock
May 16, 2003, 02:38 AM
In an odd way, Mr. Korb was right. If it weren't for Clinton, the Republicans would not have captured both houses of Congress and, later, the Presidency.

If these events hade not occurred, defense funding would still be in the toilet, and the victories would not have been possible. Thanks, Willy.

Azrael256
May 16, 2003, 03:44 AM
We succeeded in Iraq because the fighting prowess of the American men and women ON THE GROUND is second to none in the entire world. That is the doing of each and every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine.

Khornet
May 16, 2003, 07:08 AM
if events during the Clinton "administration" determined the outcome of military actions during the subsequent one,


THEN WHY WON'T YOU DEMS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE TANKING ECONOMY HAS ITS ORIGINS IN THE CLINTON DAYS?

Bruce in West Oz
May 16, 2003, 08:25 AM
We succeeded in Iraq because the fighting prowess of the American men and women ON THE GROUND is second to none in the entire world. That is the doing of each and every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine.

I'm not going to question that, because I believe you're right -- but as little as we are, President Bush did say "The Australian Special Air Services Regiment is the best in the world at what it does". That's pretty heady stuff!!

http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/auspac/12/11/ret.australia.capture/story.troops.afp.jpg

Carlos Cabeza
May 16, 2003, 11:01 AM
There are lots of things I would like to thank Clinton for..............:cuss: Like his creative use of a cigar !:D
UHHH, I think that about sums it up !

moa
May 16, 2003, 01:28 PM
Well, before we get too carried away, it has to be remembered that Iraq military was the original 98 lb. weakling. And a dumb one at that. I mean, they were too stupid to ensure critical bridges were not blown up. And the big damn too.

Even some of Saddam's toughest and most merciless fighters like the Fedayeen Saddam were not up to much. One Fedayeen captured earlier in the war said of the 4,000 Fedayeen sent to Basra before the war started, he estimated that about half of them deserted as soon as the bombs started dropping.

In a way this is like comparing half of the Nazi Waffen SS deserting during the early part WWII, which of course did not happen. The Waffen SS fought hard to the bitter end.

And, much of the regular Iraqi army just deserted. Reports from the war front mention many Iraqi weapons systems being destroyed or abandoned with little evidence of Iraqi casualties being found nearby.

Apparently the Iraqi air force did not fly one combat mission.

There were some sharp fights during the war but nothing really comparable to what we have seen in other wars in our history.

To really figure out how good our military is, we need a much better test than the one in Iraq. However, there is little doubt our military is all-in-all the best and most effective in the world today compared to everybody else. One reason it should be is that we spend annually as much on our military as the rest of the world does combined.

jmbg29
May 16, 2003, 06:27 PM
Thank Clinton for Speedy Victory in Iraq - Lawrence KorbWhy then, did "Operation Desert Fox" fail??????

After all, our troops had already been exposed to 6 years of Klinton's military genius. :rolleyes:

Methinks that Herr Klinton has a photo or two of Korb giving a goat a lewinski. :uhoh:

Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike
CLINTON: Good evening.
Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.
Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.
I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.
Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.
The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.
The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.
The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.
The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors. On occasion, we've had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.
Faced with Saddam's latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam's actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.
Eight Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman -- warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.
When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.
I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.
I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq's own commitments. And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.
Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq's cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM's chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.
The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.
In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors. Here are some of the particulars.
Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party's other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.
Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM's ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM's effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.
It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions.
Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.
Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.
So Iraq has abused its final chance.
As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, "Iraq's conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament.
"In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq's prohibited weapons program."
In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.
Saddam's deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.
This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Saddam has failed to seize the chance.
And so we had to act and act now.
Let me explain why.
First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.
Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community -- led by the United States -- has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday -- make no mistake -- he will use it again as he has in the past.
Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.
That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team -- including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser -- I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.
They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.
At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.
If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler's report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.
Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.
That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq's a month's head start to prepare for potential action against it.
Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike. I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.
So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.
First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.
The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.
Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion -- resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.
We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq's neighbors and less food for its people.
The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.
The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.
The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.
Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.
We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.
Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.
And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.
Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.
Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.
But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.
In the century we're leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.
Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.

(Emphasis added)

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