violations of the somali arms embargo...,
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This lengthy NYTBR essay would...,
do deceased wisemen want America to win?:
wtf! $90 freakin bucks for a used copy? Must be one hell of a book, his memoirs are listed for 50 cents.
Anyway, I was lookin for this, and on reflection, can we assess whether George Ball wanted American to win enough? Having mea culpas over one's desire for America to win in 1965 no doubt gravely affected our ability to win in 1972, and in 2007. He says:
It should by now be apparent that we have to a large extent created our own predicament.
Indeed this is a very astute, in fact essential, observation. One hardly needs more than a few tanks of gasoline and some fertilizer to win a war, provided the will! As we now make reality it's reasonable to assume that any predicament produced from such making is entirely of our own.
But having said that, as the makers of reality it should be little trouble to return our predicaments to the factory and retool them as - what else! - victory! Mr. Ball was wise enough to understand this, as he might have observed of the present, using his comments on Vietnam as some sort of bizarrely apropos madlib:
The phasing out of American power in Iraq should not be regarded as a major defeat--either military or political--but a tactical redeployment to more favorable terrain in the overall struggle for military dominance over our betters.
The insurgency--while supported from outside--is largely an indigenous movement. Although we have emphasized its GWOT aspects, the conflict in Iraq is essentially a civil war within that country.
And of course, no victory is truly victorious without kicking some sand in the losers' face:
Our commitment to the Iraqi people is of a wholly different order from our major commitments elsewhere--to PootyPoot, to NATO, to South Korea, etc. We ourselves have insisted the curtailment of our activities in Iraq would cast doubt on our fidelity to the other commitments. Now we must begin a process of differentiation being founded on fact and law. We have never had a treaty commitment obligating us to the Iraqi people or to an Iraqi government. Our only treaty commitment in that area is to our allies, and they have-without exception-viewed the situation in Iraq as not calling a treaty into play. To be sure, we did make a promise to the Iraqi people. But that promise is conditioned on their own performance, and they have not performed.
Not to in any way suggest that any of these people deserve so much as to be mentioned in the same breath as the one possibly sane man to ever work in the Whitehouse, but it's that last bit that I see in George Ball to Robert McNamara a future tense of James Baker to George Bush, in the sense that George Ball was merely proposing in 1965 the very policy Nixon and Kissinger adopted in 1972 - four or five or six million lives later, of course - and some future President will adopt three or seven years from now: the inevitable one.