“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, October 26, 2007

The problem is that Petraeus has not yet found his President Lincoln.

The War Was Right, the President Was Wrong
Looking back on the decision to go to Iraq.

Jonathan Rauch | October 19, 2007 Reason Magazine
Five years ago, Congress and President Bush made the most consequential and, as now seems more likely than not, unfortunate decision of this country's still young century. On October 16, 2002, Bush signed a resolution authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Should war supporters apologize?

Democrats certainly think so. In the five years since then, many of them have said "I told you so" -- many more, in fact, than told us so. In a recent paper, Gary C. Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California (San Diego), unearthed figures suggesting that some Democrats have edited their memories. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 46 percent of them favored the war, according to an average of a dozen surveys. In 2006, only 21 percent of them said they had favored the war. Hmm. Do the math.

Those 25 percent of Democrats who were for the war until they had always been against it were probably not dissembling. They were just being human. "Memory is a self-justifying historian," says Carol Tavris, a social psychologist and a co-author (with Elliot Aronson) of the recent book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. "Our memories are a better indication of what we believe and how we see ourselves today than of what actually happened."

I believe her, because I was not above a little memory repair myself. Recently, after a book review of mine appeared in The Washington Post, an angry reader wrote, "It will come as no surprise that Rauch was an advocate of invading Iraq." Who, me? I recalled myself as an agonized fence-sitter, more anti-anti-war than pro-war (an important distinction, you understand), maybe marginally in favor but more worried than convinced.

Just double-checking, I reread my columns from the period and promptly found one, from February 2004, in which I described myself as an, er, "advocate of the war." Gee. Imagine that.

So let me say for the record: I was wrong. Like most Americans, I have long since come to believe that the Iraq war was a strategic mistake -- with luck. (Without luck, it will be a strategic calamity.) But let me also say what I was wrong about.

In that February 2004 article, I called the war a "justified mistake." When a cop shoots a robber who has murdered in the past and who brandishes what looks like a gun, we blame the robber, not the cop -- even if it turns out that the robber was brandishing a toy or a cellphone. The robber was asking for it, and so was Saddam Hussein.

That answer, although still reasonable, no longer seems as convincing. Since 2004, it has become clearer that the Bush administration's prewar hype portrayed the intelligence on Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction as solider and starker than it really was. Not enough people, including people in the media, asked enough hard questions. I should have been more skeptical of the WMD hard sell. That was mistake No. 1.

Mistake No. 2 was forgetting the difference between experts and poseurs. Over the past few years, it has become clearer that the hazards of the U.S. occupation of Iraq were not unforeseeable. In fact, quite a few people foresaw them. And warned about them. And went unheeded. Partly that was because the Bush administration wasn't interested, but partly it was because a lot of us in the media gave a lot of ink and airtime to pontificators who had never been to Iraq, who had never fought in a war or served in an embassy or worked on a reconstruction team, and who did not know Iraq's language, culture, people, leaders, history, or region. Other than that, they were experts.

In 2002 and 2003, of course, there was no way of knowing which of countless forecasts and opinions would prove correct. The experts were divided; sometimes fresh-eyed amateurs see what jaded experts miss; the previous U.S. Iraq policy was no big success. All true. Still, the fact that so many of the war's sturdiest proponents were journalists and pundits -- in other words, hacks, like me -- should have rung more alarm bells. That was mistake No. 2.

Those, however, were small mistakes compared with the fundamental one. It was not, really, a mistake about the war at all. It was a mistake about the president.

Fool me twice, shame on me. In 1990, I was fooled once. In the prelude to the Persian Gulf War, I misjudged President George H.W. Bush. In those days, America's most resounding recent military triumphs had been against the Lilliputian forces of Panama and Grenada, against which weighed the 1975 defeat in Vietnam, the 1980 fiasco of Desert One (President Carter's failed hostage-rescue attempt in Iran), and the 1983 humiliation in Lebanon (where U.S. forces turned tail after losing more than 200 marines to a Hezbollah truck bomb). Saddam Hussein's forces looked formidable and well entrenched in 1990. The sandstorms looked forbidding. And President George H.W. Bush looked hapless. I opposed the war.

The U.S. military proved virtuosic, the Iraqi military proved worthless, the desert proved tractable, and, much the most important, the elder Bush proved dazzling. He marshaled an unprecedented coalition. He won decisively in hours. He quit while he was ahead. He even got other countries to pay. He should not have stood by as Saddam savagely put down postwar rebellions; but otherwise his performance was masterly, not least in its realism and restraint.

As I came to the 2002-2003 Iraq debate, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. Another Bush was president, and the younger one looked as decisive as his father had once seemed dotty. This, after all, was the George W. Bush who had impressively rallied the nation and the world after September 11.

His foreign-policy team looked easily the equal of his father's, or anybody's. Vice President Cheney was the wise man of Washington and the elder Bush's successful Defense secretary. Secretary of State Colin Powell was the magisterial architect of the Gulf War. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was the man whose plan had worked like a charm in Afghanistan. If Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, was not the equal of her 1990 predecessor, Brent Scowcroft, she was no lightweight. Surely if any war Cabinet could inspire confidence, this was it.

Wrong again. Zero for two.

George W. Bush had more than his share of bad luck in Iraq. He bet that Saddam would have an active nuclear or at least biological-weapons program; that Iraq's social and physical infrastructure would be functional; that the war would be short. None of those bets was crazy, but he lost all three.

Still, a good gambler never bets more than he can afford to lose; he scrubs the odds with a sharp eye on the worst case; he hedges to give himself options. Above all, he keeps abreast of the game.

Bush placed too large a bet, padded the odds, and didn't hedge. Worst of all, he never caught up with the state of play. Again and again, he and his team were too slow in understanding and reacting to events, if they reacted at all. They were late to react to wholesale looting; late to understand the scale of the effort and to commit sufficient forces (arguably they still haven't); late to recognize they confronted an insurgency and to fight it with proven counterinsurgency tactics; late to recognize the emergence of a Shiite-Sunni civil war. Today, almost five years on, they are still behind the curve: As Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., plausibly argues, Bush clings to an insistence on a strong central government in Baghdad, despite that strategy's failure and signs that regionalism would work better.

Some optimists say that in Army Gen. David Petraeus, Bush has finally found his Gen. Grant. That may or may not be true, but it is beside the point. The problem is that Petraeus has not yet found his President Lincoln.

Judging presidents' wartime performance before the war starts is hard. No one could have known in 1860 that Lincoln, a lawyer and military novice, would develop into a commander-in-chief of genius. As lessons go, "Don't misjudge the president before committing to a war" is roughly as useful as "Buy low, sell high."

It does, however, provide some insight into the key mistake of five years ago. In February, asked for the umpteenth time to recant her war vote, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., for the umpteenth time refused. "The mistakes were made by the president," she said. In 2004, she said, "I do not regret giving the president authority.... What I regret is the way the president used the authority."

She had a fair point. She might have sharpened it by saying what I have come to say: I do not regret giving the president authority; I regret giving this president authority. I am sorry. I made a mistake five years ago. But not about the vote. About the leader.


  1. The Kosovo/Bosnia/Serbia mess is regarded as Clinton's war, even if Bush is continuing our troop involvment there. Hillary will continue to occupy Iraq, perhaps with a much smaller footprint, but it will always be Bush's tarbaby. It won't pass along to Giuliani or Thompson or Romney, because the Pew Research Center says 41% of Americans cannot even name one GOP candidate running for election to President in 2008!

  2. We'll bury this lines under the title

    Mr Bush, Mr Lincoln ...

    For the US, Iraq is no Civil War.

    Although the casualties of the Iraq adventure are tragic for the families involved, there are very few such families. Especially compared to the US Civil War, by any type of comparative scale.

    Why the Mission became muddled, who muddled it and when, is not yet a historical question, it's a political one.
    Though the ultimate responsibility is with Mr Bush, things are not so bad as to be compared to Mr Lincoln's position in the Winter of 1863 & the Spring of '64.

    From a historical perspective, Iraq could workout just fine, be seen as a watershed event, or not.

    If the Victory Parades on the Fourth come off without a hitch.

  3. That's good, Ms T, the lack of interest.

    Especially when 50% of those polled say the know Ms Clinton, know she is running, and would NEVER vote for her.

    That lots of people do not know that America's Mayor is running for President is not a negative. Since the race is not on, yet.

    The shorter the campaign, the better for the GOP, it beginning after the March War Report, cresting with the Summer Victory Parades will play to Rudy's advantage.

  4. A couple of threads ago trish said...

    "...when they left the White House, they left with a growing sense of alarm -- not only was the Bush administration headed straight for war with Iran, it had been set on this course for years."

    That's what they keep saying anyway. More likely? The admin has spent the last few years assiduously avoiding that war without ever developing a policy that would move us out of the cul-de-sac we're in, leaving us at the mercy of noise makers who cannot even claim ex officio."

    Well, the Bush admin seems intent on a new cul de sac - especially now that Iraq is won (note how all the 'trend lines' say so and its just the MSM's laggardly reporting that is yet to inform the public)

    I hope you are right Trish that the Bushies really are "assiduously avoiding that war" but as Pepe Escobar wrote at the end of his atimes article:

    "By branding the IRGC as terrorist, Washington has in fact declared war on the Iranian power elite.

    One can imagine what would happen if any developing country branded the US industrial-military complex as "terrorists" - and any number of countries would have plenty of reasons to do so. By stretching its "war on terror" logic to actually naming names, the Bush administration has boxed itself into no other option than regime change in Iran. "

    Patreaus may be looking for his Lincoln but he seems to be saddled with a... Napoleon, Hitler, Saddam *insert name of failed leader who pushed to far based on past success/fervent ideology.

  5. I do not think so, ash
    Time Mag, not in the Team 43 fan club, by any means reports great strides in the Shia/Sunni divide being papered over.

    The "wild card" now, as normal, Mr al-Sadr.

    The new front of the Iraq adventure, the North, this is a piece of news that I missed. The reason for his departure cited by Time and this piece from the Turkish Daily News

    The U.S. State Department confirmed Tuesday that retired General Joseph Ralston, a former NATO supreme commander who last year became Washington's special envoy for countering the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), had quit his job.

    Ralston's resignation formally ends a painful and faltering process that has produced no visible results in efforts to expel the PKK from bases in northern Iraq, from which the terrorist group attacks Turkish targets.

    "For his own reasons, [Ralston] decided that he was going to be moving on. And we appreciate everything that he has done," State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, told reporters when asked to comment on the general's status.

    "Any continuing presence of the PKK or the continuing activities of the PKK is not because what he did or did not do. He did a great job," McCormack said.

    In recent days there were rumors that Ralston had sent his letter of resignation to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    McCormack gave no reason why Ralston had decided to quit.
    In his last public appearance in Washington in early July Ralston said he would resume his work after the Turkish general elections on July 22, but this did not happen.

    Sources here said that Ralston had failed in his efforts to urge the Washington administration to apply larger pressure on Iraqi Kurds who control northern Iraq to take measures against the PKK.

    Top Turkish military officials and diplomats in on-the-record remarks have accused Iraqi Kurds of providing the PKK with shelter, arms and logistics.

    Dead from the start

    The Ankara and Baghdad governments have in the last two months agreed on two documents for cooperation against terrorism, but Baghdad has no clout in northern Iraq, and Iraqi Kurds have refused to recognize those agreements.

    Iraqi Kurds complain that Ankara does not accept them as interlocutors on this matter. Frustrated by Iraqi Kurds' aspirations for independence and their help to the PKK, Turkey does not recognize the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq.

    As a result, Ralston's efforts for reconciliation between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds have gone nowhere.

  6. DR, I agree the North is a problem - a foreseen unforeseen consequence - but that hasn't seemed to quiet the steady rise of the drumbeats of war against Iran. Maybe Team 43 see it as just a speed bump, not really a problem, in the larger scheme of things: you gotta break a few eggs to make an omlette and freedom can be messy donctha know? Turkey need to take a few punches for the team - they'll listen to our Ok, ok, we'll let them fight, a bit... doesn't change much really as the ME marches to freedom with the free trade in stuff with all(who can pay)...

  7. YEREVAN (Reuters) - Armenia said on Friday it was "surprised" that concerns about damaging U.S.-Turkish ties had been allowed to stall a resolution recognizing as genocide the 1915 killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey.

    Backers of the resolution in the U.S. Congress said this week they would postpone plans to put it to a full vote after a storm of criticism from U.S. ally Turkey -- which denies the killings were genocide -- and from the White House.

    Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian told Reuters in an interview he believed that Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat speaker of Congress, would still put the resolution to a full vote.

    "We are far from disappointed," said Oskanian. "They tell me the resolution will be put to a full vote at the right time. Speaker Pelosi has not pulled it. With all such matters, timing is a political decision."

    But he added: "We remain surprised that the U.S.-Turkey relationship is thought to be so fragile that this non-binding resolution or other verbal acknowledgements appear to pose a problem."

    One NATO member with plenty of helicopters ...

    Oct 26 (Reuters) - Turkish helicopters ferried more troops to the border with Iraq on Friday ...

  8. It's just part of the North American Aid Package, doug.

    Mexico needs the $24 billion USD, or there'd be a Revolution. A negative thing considering how important stable oil supplies are, now more than ever.

    A hidden tax, that brings the Boners closer to their greater goal of an even greater Union, in the Americas.

  9. PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Oct. 26 — Pakistani security forces exchanged heavy gunfire with militants at the sprawling seminary of an increasingly powerful extremist cleric in the troubled North-West Frontier Province today, according to regional police officials.

    The fighting was in the same region where a bomb attack on Thursday killed 17 members of a civil armed guard and 3 civilians.

    The cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, is also known as Maulana Radio for his illegal radio broadcasts urging Taliban-style Islamic law. The provincial government deployed 2,500 troops to the area, known as Swat, two days ago, to join army forces trying to quell the rise of extremism the cleric has fostered. He is believed to have gone underground since the troops arrived.

    Swat, once a peaceful tourist area, has been transformed in the past few months by a series of deadly bombings that have been aimed at civilians. The cleric is believed to have 4,500 armed followers.

    The fighting today was in a subdistrict of northern Swat, called Kabal.

    A deputy inspector general of police, Akhtar Ali Shah, said that the security forces responded when they were fired at. “Security forces attracted some fire and they retaliated,” he said in a telephone interview.

    The fighting escalated as militants holding positions on hill-tops around the river-side seminary fired at security forces holding positions on the other side of the river, he said.

    The exchange of fire was intermittently punctuated by heavy explosions as gunship helicopters flew overhead. Local residents said that paramilitary soldiers were flown in by army helicopters to seize control of a militant training camp on a hill-top.

  10. So the 40,000 KIA lost in the Mexican Aid Campaign did not die in vain?
    They did not volunteer, in the main, for such service.
    In a decade we can look back with pride that we surrendered the soverignty and welfare of the country in a compassionate act of sacrifice for our Mexican Brothers to the South.
    Would have been a Hell of a lot cheaper to just GIVE them the $24 Billion/yr, compounded at 12%/yr.

  11. Craig, Coleman, and Lott three of the Dream Act turncoats.
    McCain, MIA.
    8 Dems saved the day.

  12. Craig and Lott, took a stance together, a couple of stalwarts or shall we say stallworts?

  13. But just giving them the money would not achieve the cultural modification required for assimulation, by both sides of the merger.

  14. Like rufus always says about Iraq, doug, is even more true of Mexico.

    "It's about the oil"

  15. Cheap labor's gotta play a role somewhere in the Mexican equation.

  16. 1,448,000 barrels per day YTD from Mexico.
    At $90 that's ahh...
    $130,320,000 per day
    $912,240,000 per week
    $47,436,480,000 per year

    Plus the $24,000,000 in remittences.

    Mr Fox said that the objective of he and Mr Bush, the strategic plan, was for Mexico to emulate the success of Greece & Portegul, raising their capita GDP from $6,000 to $20,000.

    That success was imperitive for a stable and prosperous North America.

    US per capita GDP is $44,000

    There are 330 million of US
    110 million Mexicans.

    Let someone that knows how do the math. But the answer is obvious.

  17. October 24, 2007

    Mr. Robert Peterson

    Lewiston, Idaho 83501

    Dear Robert:

    You were frank in expressing your views, and I appreciated it. In fact, I reviewed every letter and contact from Idahoans -- both letters like yours urging me to resign and letters of support from throughout the State.

    As you know, I have decided to serve out my term and complete the initiatives for Idaho that are currently underway in the U.S. Senate. When I returned to Washington, D.C. in September, it became clear that I could still work effectively for the State; many of my Senate colleagues have even urged me to remain in office. Resigning would have cost Idaho the seniority and committee assignments that serve key State priorities.

    Let me again apologize to you for the mistake I made in pleading guilty to a crime I did not commit. I deeply regret the cloud that has been cast over Idaho because of my actions. I will do all I can to lift that cloud through continued service to our great State.

    In the months ahead, I will be voting and working on your behalf in the U.S. Senate. It may not be possible to regain your trust, but I hope you will still continue to give me your input, so that I can do my best to represent you on the issues facing our State and Nation.


    United States Senator


    Letter from Larry....

  18. I frankly expressed my views...:)

  19. I said--"No one believes you any longer, Senator. The gig is up."

  20. Which he should stay in office until the end of his term, in '08.

    You being a Craig supporter on that issue, I thought.

  21. Harry Potters encounters with the StallWorts of Deathly Hallows.

  22. "Plus the $24,000,000 in remittences."

    Plus the $24,000,000,000 in remittences.

  23. AlBob's gotta have time to contemplate and plan a life without Wide Stanced Support in DC of Farmers and their Illegal Workers.

  24. By stretching its "war on terror" logic to actually naming names, the Bush administration has boxed itself into no other option than regime change in Iran. "

    - Pepe Escobar

    Forcible regime change in Iran would be, hands down, THE GREATEST STUNNER of our time. So much so, ash, that Bush (or the next guy/gal) will have had to hire a secret defense community, unbeknownst to the world, to undertake it.

    I can repeat that, if you wish.

    Pepe Escobar's saying what Pepe Escobar's been saying for years. If, like Pepe Escobar, you've believed, been convinced - for years - that Iran is the Plan, there's nothing I can say but that I see no evidence, no tell tale signs of it. Whatsoever.

  25. Harry Potters encounters with the StallWorts of DC.
    (Capitol of Deathly Callows)

  26. Iran will submit after the Mormon's Bombardment.

  27. I want to believe what you say is true Trish and it strikes me as a foolhardy adventure to attack Iran but the words and actions of the administration suggest that they certainly "are keeping that option on the table". Your words and others lead me to believe that the defense establishment also think that it would not be an advisable move but they would obey their civvy masters would they not?

    I see no evidence of a force buildup on Iran's borders as we see Turkey currently doing at the border with northern Iraq and as we witnessed in the build up to GWI and GWII but would we see something similar if the planes were simply getting ready to do some surgery, Aafirst step toward the wishful thought of regime change? I do remember Condi stressing yesterday that "we" have no quarrel with the Iranian "people" just their "leadership". Deja vu all over again...

    The Bush admin certainly seems to be limiting the options in the way forward. Maybe it really is just empty rhetoric as you seem to suggest...

  28. Craig's goose is stewed. While I may be a little confused, and acting out irrationally, on the issue of whether he should go now, or later, I am looking forward to a 'wide open' republican primary, coming up.

  29. Meaning bob is finally going to convert and we're going to drop him from a B1?

  30. To be blunt about it, that cock sucker pisses old bob off.

  31. Your words and others lead me to believe that the defense establishment also think that it would not be an advisable move but they would obey their civvy masters would they not?

    - ash


  32. ...sounds like there might be a fair bit of soul searching going on if it came to that...

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Why would someone refer to a Defender of the Wide Stance in the Halls of the Deathly Callows as a
    "Cock Sucker? "

    ...and if one were pissed off, shouldn't he assume the Wide Stance?

  35. It is time I vow to go to church this coming Sunday. Which I will do.

  36. Ash,
    The entire Govt Establishment followed the wishes of the Decider and a couple of Neocons when they decided to trash the Heart of a Plan for Iraq that involved years in the making.

    Decider in Chief, Indeed.

  37. You will vow, but will you go?

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. The National Guard and the Border Patrol follows the wishes of the
    Outlaw Decider
    when he orders them not to enforce the laws.

    If not, they end up in prison.

  40. The Santa Fe Democrat won a landslide victory in the governor's race Tuesday, crushing his Republican opponent, John Sanchez, in the most lopsided gubernatorial election in more than three decades.

    Richardson wasted little time on celebration, announcing his transition team this morning and promising to make diversity a top priority in his administration.

    "My administration will reflect the diversity of our great state," he said. "Women will get preferential treatment in the Cabinet. . . . We're going to recruit from around the state for our committees."

    General chairmen of the transition will be Paul Bardacke, former New Mexico attorney general; Stuwart Paisano, governor of Sandia Pueblo; Ed Romero, former U.S. ambassador to Spain; and Lt. Gov.-elect Diane Denish, former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
    My old drinking buddy Paul is defending the Sandia Pueblo in not paying their slot machine winners their prize, not just on the basis of the machine exceeded the maximum stated jackpot, but also on the more universal grounds of Tribal Sovereignty!
    ...the better to allow them to not pay even disputes that do Not exceed the stated jackpots.

    ...extending the Sovereign Rights of the Tribal Nation!

  41. Too bad Craig ain't an Injun.
    ...or a Hispanic, or better yet, a
    Female Hispanic Injun.

  42. Would a Female Hispanic Injun with a Wide Stance constitute a Home Run?
    A Round Tripper.
    Four Bagger.

  43. RE: Iran.

    No invasion, although it is no secret that Stealth Bombers are being retrofitted to carry 30,000 pound bunker busters.

    If only the Iranians feared Bush as much as the left does.

    RE: Huckabee.
    John Ford reinforces my conclusions.

  44. I'm not sure it is fair to characterize those that fear Bush as being from the left. Doug seems to fear the decider in chief and he's hardly a lefty. I fear his bone headed decisions as well.

  45. The New Mexicans have always been a bit bluer than Zonies, but our blue Governor is pretty popular.

  46. "As Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., plausibly argues, Bush clings to an insistence on a strong central government in Baghdad, despite that strategy's failure and signs that regionalism would work better."

    I don't actually think this is the case. I think a weak central government is the goal as long as that government is understood to be allied with the neighbor.

  47. Passing the oil law seems to be an important goal.

  48. For cutler:

    Pretty much same as always in re your Top Secret.

    No felony convictions.
    No homosexuality.
    No recent, extensive illegal drug use.

    If you fail to obtain it, you should be able to be released from obligation. That should be in your contract.

    The interview upends some people. Be prepared.

  49. Trish,
    Last time I brought that up, you said Homos were not a problem.
    That's what my kid has found, not that he's a homo, or even a Wide Stancing Dancer, tho!

  50. "Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles," she says. "Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."
    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice,
    I'll blame it on being a newly reborn babe in the woods.

  51. Well, doug, the policy's the policy. And when it comes to classified, blackmail's still the standing concern.


    Also for cutler:

    If you want to do analysis, get a Naval Reserve commission and at the same time seek a job as such at DIA or State (INR). DIA's hiring (off the street, so to speak); State actually is in some ways better for that. But either is good, so long as you understand you'll be a GS8, maybe 9 for your first year. You'll move quickly after that. Naval intel provides serious opportunities for analysts. DIA and State both offer opportunities to branch off if you desire later and as a Nav Res guy you can do training in place at DIA.

    Don't do Army. Unless you're willing as an officer to wait 10 years to do analysis (save the unlikely event that you luck into a strat job; needs of the Army bid against it).

    BUT. You need a language. Got a language?

  52. Thanks very much, Trish.

    No, I inherited my father's (lack of) language skills.

    I've heard how important it is and am still trying, but it just isn't taking. Maybe I should look into a different business then.

  53. I actually just sent in the DIA application though, have the Naval Reserve Intelligence website on my desktop, and am moving onto INR.

  54. Really, what a beautiful picture of Abe, our Abraham Lincoln!!

  55. "Maybe I should look into a different business then."

    Yech. I'll pretend I never said that. Onward and upward.

  56. No language.

    Contact the JRU - Joint Reserve Unit. (Attatched to DIA.) Tell them what you're interested in, ask what you have to do to get there. They may have something to offer.

    And you CAN apply for language training after joining the Nav Res. Just have to pass the DLAB. (Warped, but imminently passable.)

    Yeah, language is important. Might want to get your feet wet in a private language program (no end of them in our area; look at embassies esp.) if the language isn't taking at school. Makes you more competitive.

    Best of luck.

  57. But that is not an answer to why you said it was not a problem, before, Trish.

  58. Cutler,
    I got through College German by locking myself in my room with a tape recorder and the book.

    No great scholar, but when I HEAR something it stimulates a memory of everything that surrounded that sound, in this case the dialog that came before and after each word.

    Listening to the radio on the road requires only 1 exposure for me to recall the surroundings in near photographic detail.

    With my German Textbook, it required MANY more repetitions than that!

  59. Trish, just to make sure I've got it clear.

    The language training was crucial to get my foot into the door for both Naval Reserve Intelligence and DIA, or just one of them?

  60. You don't need it to apply to Naval Reserve Intelligence. You don't need it to apply to DIA. It helps enormously.

    You did have foreign language in high school and undergrad, did you not?

    They're not looking for proficiency. Ability and initiative are what they want.

    Where did you go to school?

  61. Doug, when my father went through public school in the Bronx he took French for a number of years. He was so bad that when the school required its teachers to test their students' progress they stuck him at the back of the room with another kid, and then let them cheat off each other. Neither of them got over a 25%.

    Ironically, the other guy wound up the head of a major brokeridge firm in NYC. My father did okay too.

    But it also means I'm not exactly following in the footsteps of linguistic greatness. Yet I'll do my best.

  62. Spanish in middle school, high school, undergraduate, and now graduate.

    Gaps between some of them due to discouragement.

    Opposite of Doug. I can read in a mediocre manner, but am pretty bad orally.

  63. Anybody, take my word for it, can learn a language. Some programs are better suited to some people than to others. But it can be done, cutler.

  64. Anyway, I got to take care of something, thanks for the help again.

  65. "Spanish in middle school, high school, undergraduate, and now graduate."

    Well, for heaven's sake. That's all you really need, cutler.

  66. When you said 'language' I assumed you meant fluid.

    In my program people speak 2-3 languages like it is nothing.

  67. "When you said 'language' I assumed you meant fluid."

    Sorry. My bad. I should have been more specific.

  68. You're already pretty well plugged in, cutler. I wouldn't worry about it.

  69. This comment has been removed by the author.