March 1, 2005


That Sinking Feeling Returns (Commander Beth F. Coye, U.S. Navy (ret.), 3/01/05, Ashland Daily Tidings)

While listening to President Bush deliver his second Inaugural Address, that familiar sinking feeling washed over me again. [...]

In Vietnam they posited the Domino Theory; in Iraq, the Democratization of the Arab World.

In simple terms, the Domino Theory held that, unless the U.S. stepped in to prevent it, the communists would take control of Southeast Asian countries, one by one. Similarly, the Democratization Theory postulates that we must deter the "evildoers," i.e., fundamentalist Muslim terrorists, in their drive to disrupt and control the Arab world, state by state.

Neither theory was well-founded or adequately analyzed before we went to war. Neither was fully supported by the military. Each was championed by an imperious Secretary of Defense who largely ignored the counsel of our senior military commanders. McNamara had his Whiz kids; Rumsfeld, his Neo-cons.

Then came the second inaugural address, the State of the Union and the budget. We, the people are expected to support policies which lack resources, clear thinking and allies. These policies have already created unbelievable losses and planetary ramifications.

That sinking feeling is now deeply embedded.

Imagine how she must have felt after the Palestinian election? the Iraqi election? the Sa'udi election? the announcement of Togolese elections? the announcement of Egyptian elections? the fall of the Syrio-Lebanese government?

Mubarak calls for a less pharaonic future (The Economist, Feb 28th 2005)

IT WAS Yemen’s president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, who said last year, regarding mounting pressure for democratic reform, that Arab leaders should trim their moustaches now before someone else shaves them clean off. This advice seems to have been taken, belatedly, by his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak.

As recently as January, Mr Mubarak had dismissed talk of changing Egypt’s constitution, a legal arrangement that grants presidents pharaonic powers. Not only does Egypt’s ruler have the right to name and dismiss cabinets, regional governors and the heads of a multitude of state institutions. There has been no limit to the number of six-year terms a president can serve. Best yet, incumbents have faced no challenge to their re-election: Egypt’s parliament, safely packed with members of the ruling party, chooses a single candidate, and this choice is confirmed by referendums that tend to generate 90%-plus approval.

So Mr Mubarak’s announcement, coming just six months before his own pending re-election to an unprecedented fifth term, that he wants to change the constitution to allow for open, contested presidential polls, landed as something of a bombshell. For the first time in their 5,000 year history, ordinary Egyptians may actually have a chance to choose their leader.

More important, perhaps, is the fact that the very idea of reform has received endorsement at the highest level. Considering Egypt’s position as the most populous Arab country and the historical leader of Arab nationalism, mounting momentum for change there could have wide-ranging implications for the region. This is precisely the hope expressed by George Bush, America’s president, who has repeatedly called for Egypt to lead the region to democracy, just as it pioneered the path to peace with Israel.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2005 2:01 PM

How was the Domino Theory wrong? Aeter the war, didn't Cambodia and Laos become communist?

Posted by: Brandon at March 1, 2005 2:14 PM

The tranzi left is suffering from an acute case of OODA loop overload. Give them space, it leads to fits.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 1, 2005 3:21 PM

Retired female mid-level Navy officer. Anyone wanna take bets on whether she violated 'Don't ask, don't tell?'

Posted by: Bart at March 1, 2005 3:47 PM

Bart: Well according to the link to the book she wrote I would say so.

"My Navy Too" by Beth Coye

Posted by: rps at March 1, 2005 4:15 PM

bart, are you implying that she did some diving while in the navy ?

Posted by: cjm at March 1, 2005 4:16 PM

If you're retiring as a commander, it wasn't your choice.

Posted by: Bart at March 1, 2005 5:33 PM