Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bush On Private Security Firms

This is what he did not know. Does he know (or care) much more now? Whilst this is the lastest US response on this issue which I have covered over the past two days.


mrs k said...

Apart from not being surprised at his ignorance, the fact he laughed and tried to turn it into a joke - is absolutely appalling. Life is cheap to this President.

Harry Barnes said...

Mrs K; His ignorance, lack of concern and his general approach are all a disgrace.

Anand said...

Check out our discussion at IM:

Harry Barnes, I suspect the President is laughing at himself and his own ignorance. He sees this as humbling himself before the people and being honest.

I don't think this reflects a lack of concern. How can there be concern or lack thereof if there isn't an awareness of what to be concerned about?

See this:

President Bush won two elections by running as being more humble than his opponent. President Bush never puts people down by questioning their intelligence or lack of knowledge. He never claims to be smarter or knowledgeable than anyone else.

I admire this particular quality in him. I think that many of us, me included, could learn something from this.

Harry Barnes, maybe you can suggest how the GoI should regulate private contractors. They are going to be in Iraq for a long time to come.

Harry Barnes said...

Anand: even if I accept your analysis on Bush, we are left with a situation in which the most powerful person in the world sends an invasion force into Iraq and then has his administrators in the country protected by private security firms but is ignorant of the terms and conditions under which they are allowed to operate. How can any of us sleep undisturbed with such a third rate idiot at the helm of the most powerful nation in the world?

All he has to do is to get his Secretary of State of Defence to draw up tough controls to ensure that American security firms act (a) in entire conformity with Iraqi Laws, (b) only ever in a defensive posture and (c) do not excede the authority (under my last point) of the way US forces are supposed to operate when acting defensively in Iraq - but have often abused. All of this should merely be a stage towards private security forces being phased out and replaced but (hopefully) controlled by US forces. Such forces themselves (with Iraqi agreement) being then replaced by the UN/Islamic forces we discussed earlier.

I will check your references. If Bush acts in the ways I suggest, he can always send me a copy of his proposals for my comments!

Anand said...

Harry Barnes. Ha Ha Ha.

See the You Tube linked to above. It is classic.

I never claimed that Pres Bush is well informed, competent or effective. Now that would be funny. {Even Pres Bush’s supporters wouldn’t accuse him of that.}

Most Americans liked Pres Bush for the same reasons they like Forrest Gump and Homer Simpson.

President Bush won because he came across as a "regular" guy who wasn't too conceited and full of himself. There are few things Americans despise as much as intellectual arrogance (I know more, am better educated, or more sophisticated/cultured than you). That is why for example most Americans look down on IV league, Eastern Establishment, or professorial types. Pres Clinton, although well educated and informed, was very good at not coming across that way (even better than the inarticulate older President Bush). That is why he won.

Perhaps unfairly, VP Gore and Senator Kerry didn’t come across well in the media or on camera.

Regarding private contractors . . . since most are hired by different parts of the Iraqi government (or private Iraqi companies or citizens), the GoI in my opinion has to take the lead. The US state department should support them.

MNF-I should also take a more active interest in the activities of defense contractors that they hire (but not contractors who work for different US gov’t agencies or others).

As you know, many “contractors” are really “concerned citizens” or a type of paramilitary police hired to protect communities and fight militants. A lot of them need to be integrated into the Iraqi police through the Ministry of Interior. There are sensitivities regarding this (since some are former resistance fighters who killed Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, government officials, political party activists, militias associated with Iraqi political parties, or civilians).

Oh, please see my comment here regarding the ISF:
I think it will cheer you up. Many Americans who work with the Iraqi army (IA) describe large parts of it as the best quality in the arab world (personally I still think that the Jordanian military is better . . . and that the Egyptian army is comparable in quality for now). There is little doubt that the IA is improving rapidly, and is better quality than the Iraqi army was in the late Saddam years. This will cheer up all of Iraq’s friends around the world, including you.

Check out the 1st and 7th IAD (Iraqi Army Division) soldiers described in as well.

Harry Barnes said...

Anand; Sorry,I did not answer your earlier point about the role of the GoI over private security, which you now return to. About his own security firm, David Bullivant has pointed out that "The only time we as an organisation have been licensed and controlled rigidly is in Kosovo, by one of the provisional institutions. We carry a license to provide services in Kosovo. It is meticulously dealt with every 12 months. We have to pass". The GoI and your Homer Simpson need to get hold of the details. See -

See my other recent posted items on the issue and their links.

mrs k said...

'Private Security Firms' in the old days, 'Soldiers of Fortune' or 'Merchants Adventurers'.

Its amazing what a change of wording can do to make same old, same old, acceptable.

These firms are answerable to no-one unless stringent contracts are drawn up and well policed.


If I accept your explanation of President Bush's attitude, and the reasoning behind why Americans voted for him. Then I wonder about how such a person having been voted in, has not got the intelligence to realise that he needs to brush up and do something about his lack of knowledge.

If the USA continues to vote such people into positions with such enormous power, then I do fear for the rest of us.

Harry Barnes said...

Mrs K and Anand: did you see this and the telling link at the end of it? It is the item above this one.
It fits Mrs K's terminolgy and worse.

Anand said...

HB, IM showed us all this link. It was awful. We continue to discuss this issue there.

mrs k, you are right . . . a President should "brush up and do something about his lack of knowledge."

President Bush failed to do this regarding Iraq . . . at least until fairly recently. History will judge him for this. And his failure to "brush up" also applies to many other issues.

Once after a meeting with President Abu Mazen, he was so influenced by President Abu Mazen’s 3 dimensional props describing the wall . . . and President Abu Mazen’s presentation . . . that he after the meeting criticized the wall to the shock of everyone around him. The President contradicted his own policy. His advisors had to quickly patch things up.

The president also demanded that 3 dimensional props be sent to him on every other issue.

The net result of all this is the President gives broad directives (I am the delegater), and lets others in his own administration fight out specific policies and implementation among themselves. Sometimes actual implementation is quite different from the broad directives that he has set or intends.

Former Treasury Secretary O’Neil’s book on Bush is shocking. He describes the President with a deer in the headlight look as debates rage around him. The President’s own Secretary of Treasury describes it as the blind leading the deaf.

The President ordered that Guantanamo Bay be shut down years ago. But VP Cheney and others have been waging a rear-guard bureaucratic battle that has delayed actual implementation. (I can just imagine the conversation: “If we close it now, Al Qaeda’s number 3 walks free?” Pres: “okay fix all this stuff and then close it.” The people around the president delay fixing the problem.) You can feel Secretary Powell’s frustration regarding this issue when he talks about it today.

See this:

President Fox is a long time friend and knows President Bush well.

President Bush is supremely self-confident, certain and decisive. He jokes more (in a not always funny way) than any previous President, and is not as informed as he should be.

I am an American. It gives me great sadness to write this regarding my own President.

Harry Barnes said...

Meanwhile the Blackwater plough on.