Monday, October 27, 2008

Hats off to Brother Carter!

Those of us who met on the old INTEL-Dump and have continued our cyber friendship will appreciate this IHT article. Whatever your politics, we owe a "hats off" to Phil Carter, as whatever level of camaraderie we share, Phil made it possible, and I thank him for introducing me to all of you, as well as many of the "old timers" with whom we no longer have contact.

INTEL-DUMP came into existence because Phil cares. The participants joined in the fray because we cared. Phil used a level of intellectual discourse that generally made the discussion stimulating.

Best to Phil, and best to all of you.



Charles Gittings said...

Ya, let's hope when Phil returns he dumps the Post and restarts the original (not goona hold my breath tho).

As for this IHT article, all I have to say is that Iraq not only was a mistake, it was one of the most disgraceful crimes in the history of the United States, and there isn't anything least bit desrepectful to the military or any honorable service member in stating that FACT.

Iraq was RAPED for the selfish political purposes of the Bush administration and anyone who thinks it had anything to do with freedom in Iraq or anywhere else is a damned fool. The only thing we need to do in Iraq is LEAVE ASAP.

Andy said...

Good to see you haven't changed a bit Charlie.

Well, if Obama gets elected, I bet the Wapo blog will die because Carter will have an administration position.

Still do miss the old Intel Dump.

Fasteddiez said...

I sent a post in the last hour. Am I now banned from this blog as well???

mike said...

Captain Carter's blog was good. But IMHO it was informed comment by Al, FDChief, Publius, Andy, IRR, and many others that made Intel-Dump great. You too Eddie - before you were banned by WaPo.

Phil will land on his feet. I hope he does not drunk too much kool-aid if he gets that administration job. If he goes to the WH or Pentagon, he will need some unvarnished advice from some of you guys.

mike said...

drunk = drink

seydlitz89 said...

Agree with Al in general. Phil started Intel Dump in order to get exposure and he was able to launch himself as a "military analyst" with various publications. All the best to him in that, but he never did stray that far away from "conventional wisdom" reservation, except in regards to the subject of the "surge" and in his condemnation of torture which was very consistent, and commendable imo.

Still he knew what he could say and what he couldn't say in regards to what is "acceptable" to our political elite and pretty much towed the line which is one big reason why he has gotten so far.

In this sense he doesn't compare that favorably with say Andrew Bacevich who has spoken his own truth to power and not towed anybody's line, but has been true to his own thoughtful analysis. For Bacevich our political problems are simple to identify, but are systemic: that is difficult to deal with and address without upsetting a lot of powerful folks. Phil's view on the other hand is that "Big Daddy" Obama is gonna save us . . . which comes down to a different picture on the wall, but the same ole soap we've been sold since at least 1900 . . .

Aviator47 said...

Rereading the article, the author makes it appear as politically active Iraq veterans fall into two groups:

Those, like Phil, who are intellectually opposed to an ongoing involvement.

Those who are emotionally connected to "the mission" because of fallen comrades or kin and seek "victory".

I am sure that this is an oversimplification, but it is interesting that the article paints it this way.


Publius said...

Mike, thanks for including me in that list of folks who might have made some small difference in the old Intel Dump blog. I'm glad you mentioned that because it was the comments area in particular that made me value "Intel Dump" so much. Phil Carter was wise enough to understand what that type of synergism could do and I'm glad it seems to be paying off for him.

Some blogs don't permit comments; it's as if the blogger believes that people really want to know what he thinks and aren't interested in how others interpret that. I don't visit those blogs. Others, including one military blog I know of, actually moderate and censor comments before they're posted. When I objected to the practice and told this one blogger that I found the comments perhaps even more valuable than his golden prose, the blogger essentially told me it was his blog, he could run it however he wanted, and that I could stuff it. Fair enough, but I won't go back there.

Phil always had the self-confidence and belief in free expression that he didn't do such things. Intel Dump was very good and, from what I know of Phil, I think he's a rising star. Having said, I'm also going to agree with Seydlitz. Phil is very cautious and seemingly always defaults to following the party line. In short, he is a company man and a politician. He was especially reluctant to find fault with the military and some of his posts blew up on him as a result.

I don't know if Phil learned anything from his blogging experience, but I hope so. I know I learned a lot from participating in Intel Dump; I also miss it.

I'll sum up about Phil by noting that I tend to categorize people and put them into my own personal plus or minus column. Phil, along with Al and JD, who are keeping the flame alive, as well as a lot of you who post here, are definitely in my plus column. Those few in the minus column know who they are. I also say to Phil and the rest of you that I hope the wind may always be at your back.

Charles Gittings said...

All I know is I miss the discussions a lot simply because the quality of the group was so good, I mean gee whiz, even the trolls were a cut above. ;>

As for Phil, I think he's mostly just younger and more career centered than most of us are. The reason I cultivated him early on was simply that he impressed me as someone who was honest and had an open mind -- the kind of guy who might be able to tell me I was full of shit if I was, and maybe just get it straight if I wasn't.

That's something I've learned over the years... ideas don't flourish in a vacuum or a hot house for long. They have to be able to operate in society, in the same sense that a scientific theory has to be verifiable by independent observers.

Of course that also requires independent observers who are willing to make an honest effort to understand what the idea is -- something that's a lot easier said than done, especially in matters of politics, commerce, and war. Objectivity can be a real bitch; it requires effort... repeatedly even.

mike said...

Publius - Don't thank me, as I recall I rarely agreed with you. It was just that your curmudgeonly style fits well with my advancing age.

Seydlitz - I didn't mean to leave you out. I guess I assumed that you had given up on us and disappeared into the Douro wilderness.

FDChief said...

Couple of thoughts:

Agree with mike, seydlitz, and publius that PC always struck me as a slightly more thoughtful company guy. He's only as opinionated as he needs to be to be noticed; beyond that, not so much. He never thought that far outside the box - his insistence that somehow surgifying Afghanistan will turn it into New England with goats seems part and parcel of his need to hew to the party line. It wouldn't surprise me to see him turn up somewhere within an Obama Administration.

And how that's gonna work out, I don't know. The Dems, ISTM, have talked a lot about change and promised everything to everyone while steadily looking away from the fiscal train wreck unfolding as we type. I'd like to think that PC is going to bring some peculiar insight to his new masters, but my experience with him in the past doesn't suggest that. I wish him well all the same.

Seydlitz makes a good point, tho, and one that most of you know I think very strongly about; that beyond any criminal bent of the loyal Bushies, the U.S. political system is being warped by institutional and societal pressures that IMO are overcoming the original safeguards established by the Founders. While I'll agree with Charles that this has a LOT to do with the Bush/Cheney/neocon gang that couldn't invade straight, I'm not so sure that a different individual would have managed to make that much difference. Difference, yes, but how, for example, do you break out of the borrow-and-spend cycle when thirty years of Reaganism has made the American public think "taxes = theft"? When the DoD budget is somehow seen as "not discretionary" spending? When the notion that having a bunch of GIs doing the work of an imperial constabulary in central Asia is the geopolitical equivalent of liberating Europe from the Nazis? So while I wish PC good luck, I think he's gonna need it!

And like many of those here, I miss the contentious camraderie of the old "Dump". I've always learned a lot from those here, and I regret we've lost our old corner table to argue and discuss the issues of the day.

seydlitz89 said...

No mike, I haven't given up the ghost yet although I do like the red wine of the Douro, and the women are comely . . . nice reading so many posts from the various old hands . . . a pleasure as always gentlemen.

Al brings up a good point as to our national dialogue's "oversimplified argument" in regards to war policy. Which of course allows both sides to skirt the real issues imo. This goes in line with FDC's comments above. How do either of the current conflicts relate to the connection between what we hope to achieve politically and our application of the military instrument? This ambiguity in turn is driving the current debate as to the future of our military . . . making it essentially only a debate within the military . . .

Note how the absence of an actual political debate on this subject lends itself to the status quo, that is the "imperial view" . . .

Charles Gittings said...

Ya well the Bush gang represents a fringe scenario. How difficult is it to think that the Wiemar Republic was a lot better than the Nazis yet pretty messed up dysfunctional in it's own right?

OTOH, clearly, a large part of our problem is the existence of the fringe elements in our society that are willing to support monsters like the Bush gang and mediocrities like McCain as long as they are willing to pander to their fringe concerns. That's the real problem here: that so many of our people have shit for brains. And gee, have a look at Aristotle's POLITICS some time if you've never read it -- these are old problems.

As for the Army, don't mind me, but I've been saying that Iraq was a complete waste of time since before it got started and I've been right all along. Nagl is nutty as fruitcake to whatever extent he isn't just one more new-age Nazi.

And the situation in Afghanistan just completely pisses me off. These dumb fucks have been dicking around for seven years now and they've actually managed to create situation that's worse than it was when they started. It's just absolutely clueless. Petraeus is no genius, he's the second coming of George McClellan -- these people don't have the faintest idea what they are doing, they are just jacking off to put more fruit salad on their chests.

I've been asking the only question that matters for years now: WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES?

The Bush administration's answer is clear enough: murder people indiscriminately until you kill all the terrorists by accident. Not that they are honest enough to just say so or anything.

Will an Obama administration be better?

Well it would just about have to be, even though there's no doubt that the Democrats have bought into a lot of the BS themselves -- the key difference is that the Democrats are capable of learning from experience, where the Republicans are just pack of demented fascist criminals with no actual understanding of anything.

It all about decision-making.

mike said...


Please do not consider me as one who denigrates Captain Carter's opinions. And for sure I do not consider him a company man. My comments were that his blog was good but some of his commenters (you included) were great. I would hope he would not consider my comments as a slam on his character.

In fact, I believe that Carter's ability to attract articulate and well reasoned comment was to his credit. Like the Publican, I also wish him a fair wind at his back. He will do us and the country very well if he ends up in Barry O's administration.

That said, I still think that in Washington DC he will need to keep out of the kool-aid trough and not get taken in by the true believers.

FDChief said...

mike: there's nothing wrong with being a company guy. I spent 22 years being a company guy in a tree suit. It DOES mean that some of the more outside-the-box ideas are forever closed to you. I think that hurt PC, for example, on accepting the idea that Iraq was a freaking foreign country full of foreigners who, like most foreigners, don't like Americans (or French or any other not-the-same-flavor-of-foreigner-foreigner) stomping around their country shooting people and snatching people out of their houses. And that regardless of the purity of our intentions (which we had only Dubya's word on to go by - how'd you like to buy a house on THOSE terms..?) insisting that we had to keeping do that to help the poor Iraqis was like saying that once we had raped the poor girl that we had to keep screwing her in hopes that she'd at least get an orgasm out of it.

That's the problem with being a company guy - you have to believe stuff like that. But it doesn't make you stupid in the general sense or imperceptive on other issues or a bright and thoughtful guy overall and I think PC is all of those and more. Good luck to him as Obama's Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Defense for Veteran's Mortgage Approval or whatever...