Feb 20 2007
12:18 pm
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

Fresh from his Sunday editorial entitled Victory Is Not An Option, former Reagan NSA chief William Odom gets in a tussle with Hugh Hewitt.

The outcome doesn't make Hewitt look good at all. Hewitt throws every defense of the Iraq strategy at him, and General Odom parries every point. General Odom destroys every historical analogy that Hewitt offers in defense by providing much-needed (and continuously ignored) context.

I normally don't advocate going to Townhall, but this is a must read.

A sample:

WO: Look, I mean, I…this a kind of a pointless argument. I mean, the issues…all of your things can be true. They don’t make it any better for us. We are on a path to suffer every month we stay. The defeat we face will be larger, and we will put off the time at which…and where we will have even less resources to recover. If you remember the Second World War, Hitler had 600,000 troops thrown into Stalingrad, refused over four, five months to withdraw them, at the plea by, from his generals, and he ends up losing them all. If he had withdrawn them as they said, asked him to do, and let Stalingrad go, he could have shortened his lines by seven or eight hundred kilometers, and had nearly, had over 600,000 troops survive. Now that’s…a military commander that doesn’t know when to retire from one area so he can approach the conflict from another area, is not a smart commander. And it seems to you’re advocating a kind of policy where you have a president who jumps off the Empire State Building, and he goes by the 50th floor, and he says I’m on course. Well, I want a president who knows how to change course.

(More after the jump…)

HH: I’m actually just trying to figure out what you think Iraq would look like if after four months hence, we leave, what it would look like in a year?
WO: It’s going to look worse if we stay.
HH: I know that, but what do you think it will look like? I know you believe that…
WO: I don’t know. I don’t know. You don’t know, and it’s just a guess. And I don’t see killing more Americans based on your guess.
HH: Did you see Cambodia coming, General?
WO: And following…let me ask you. Are you enthusiastic enough to put on a uniform and go?
HH: No. I’m a civilian.
WO: Okay, but we can recruit you.
HH: I’m 51, General.
WO: And I don’t see all these war hawks that want to…none of them have been in a war, and they don’t want to go.
HH: Well, General, are you advocating that only uniformed military should have opinions on this?
WO: No, you can have an opinion, but if you…you can’t start telling me that you’re going to just pay no attention to what people like myself say.
HH: No, I am paying…that’s why you’re on this program.
WO: Okay.
HH: I want to hear it, and I want…but I want to know what you think it’s going to look like, because I’m not indifferent to the aftermath.
WO: I don’t know. I’m prepared to accept whatever it looks like, if it’s not killing Americans, and we’re not losing U.S. resources, because eventually, it will settle out out there, and our capacity to help it settle out earlier with allies will be greatly improved. I think actually, that it will come out much better than these scare pictures you’re describing.

On "appeasement:"

HH: Now General, you are a distinguished and long-serving member of the American military, in the Military Hall of Fame, you’re a Lt. General. I actually served alongside of you in the Reagan administration when you were running NSA. So I mean no disrespect by this next question.
WO: Yeah, you’re obviously going to call me a son of a bitch or something.
HH: No, I’m not. No, I’m not, General. I would never do that, because I esteem your service quite a lot, and I know your reputation as an intelligence professional, because I was the special assistant to Bill Smith running the FISA stuff, when you were over at NSA. So I know your credentials, and I esteem you. But it sounds like…
WO: I am a hard-liner.
HH: You would have been with which party in Great Britain in the 30’s? Let me ask it that way. Was Churchill…
WO: I was…it’s not analogous to today at all.
HH: Why not?
WO: Because it’s completely different. Germany was a powerful industrial company that had been dealt a terrible injustice with the Versailles Treaty.
HH: 70 million…
WO: Lloyd George and the…Clemenceau struck a deal, and didn’t even invite the Germans who…and remember, it was an armistice. They were not defeated and invaded by France and Britain and the U.S. It was an armistice, and they weren’t even invited, and they were forced into a terrible period. Hungary was truncated. It essentially opened the door to Hitler, and it certainly opened the door to the Nazis.
HH: Yes, but did Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain ignore the statements of Hitler, and put it down as just rhetoric?
WO: This is…Ahmadinejad is not…he does not have German industry. He does not preside over a country which was becoming the major industrial power in Europe.
HH: Yeah, but he will have…
WO: He’s in a backward country with a group of people who are becoming poorer and poorer as a result of his policies.
HH: But he will have…
WO: And if you can’t see the difference between that, then I’m very disappointed in your judgment.
HH: But General, he will have the weapons that Hitler aspired to and never acquired. So in many respects, his 70…
WO: In another situation where we have many more of them, which ensure his annihilation.

On the theory that the Iraq War has "prevented attacks on Americans:"

HH: Why have we not been attacked in the United States since 9/11?
WO: You don’t know and I don’t know. Mr. John Miller’s done a very good study saying they don’t have the capabilities. There’s a very lot of intelligence evidence that suggests they don’t have the capabilities to do it.
HH: And did we…
WO: All these so-called cells that the last administration, or this administration seems to have discovered here turned out to be mythical.

On "democratization:"

HH: And so the purple finger elections of 2005, of no counterargument to you?
WO: Oh, look. Elections are easy to hold. I grew up in Tennessee, where Boss Ed Crump rigged the elections every year. We knew that. Mayor Daley, the Pendergast machine, Boss Tweed? Come on, don’t tell me about elections in the U.S. being honest.
HH: I didn’t make that…I was saying what did that mean, the people, the millions that turned out?
WO: It meant that we held an election out there, and people came and voted.
HH: And what did that, do they aspire to order, General?
WO: Sure, they want order, but voting doesn’t produce order.
HH: I know that, but I’m trying to get at, do you think they aspire to freedom?
WO: Sure. But the question is, how do they get the elites to agree on the rules so that their freedom doesn’t just mean free to kill each other?
HH: And do we help them get closer to the order in which freedom can flourish?
WO: We have made it much worse.
HH: Much worse than Saddam?
WO: Yeah.
HH: You believe that people in Iraq…
WO: Oh, there’s many more people been killed each year we’ve been there than were being killed during Saddam’s period.

I've excerpted a lot, but there's much more. Read it.

Sven's picture

Gawd, Hewitt's a worm. After

Gawd, Hewitt's a worm. After yukking it up over the Lancet study with Forehead Boy, he has the chutzpah to hit people over the head with the Cambodian genocide?

I think it's time for his guest appearance on 24.

Andy Axel's picture

Some people get paid well

Some people get paid well for their k00kery. Hewitt is one of those.

Lileks is really more his speed. Any step Hewitt makes outside of the GOP echo chamber really does his movement a disservice.

I love it how Odom shreds every argument thrown his way, and then Hewitt wedges in the last word: "Well, you could be wrong about all of this." As if that really undermined what was being said -- that the only victory we can have in the Middle East is to refocus and to redefine "victory" in other terms.


Recursive blogwhore.

Sven's picture

Oof. Sauce for the

Oof. Sauce for the gander.

And while it would perhaps be an exaggeration to call people like Reynolds and his fellow law professor Hugh Hewitt (who defended Reynolds' comments) fascists, it isn't an exaggeration to point out that these gentlemen sound very much like fascists when they encourage the American government to murder people.
All this raises several interesting questions. For instance, does academic freedom insulate a law professor from any institutional consequences when he advocates murder?

Reynolds and Hewitt, after all, certainly didn't object when University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill's celebration of the murder of American civilians raised serious questions about why the university had chosen to employ and tenure such a person, and led to an investigation of Churchill's academic record.

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