Nation-Building Rudy

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Rudy Giuliani gave the commencement speech at the Citadel on Saturday and sketched out a proposal for a permanent nation-building apparatus. He whipped it out again at a Heritage Foundation dinner last night near the end of one of the better speeches I've heard from him in this campaign. Let's go to the tape:

Maybe we have to start thinking about some kind of hybrid organization of our military and our civilian agencies of the government. There's a lot here that the Justice Department can bring to bear in places like Iraq and if we have to do another Iraq in the future. There's a lot of skills that the Commerce Department can bring to bear, the Treasury Department, and a lot of our private businesses. This nation needs to get started again. Maybe we didn't see that because this idea of nation-building is not one you want to undertake lightly. But whether we wanted to or not, it's now our responsibity. We've got to get it done right.

"If we have to do another Iraq." Like with less "q"s and more "n"s? The polls keep sloshing back and forth, but at any given time Giuliani, McCain and Romney command about 60 percent of the GOP vote. All of them want a larger military, and the first two want to make aggressive nation-building more viable; Rudy via the "hybrid organization" and McCain via a "League of Democracies."

NEXT: Random News from Afghanistan

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  1. Rudy- our man from the Empire State.

  2. P Brooks,

    I thought that was Hilary.

    “If we have to do another Iraq.”

    That statement assumes we had to “do” Iraq, which is to say the least a debatable proposition.

  3. Ron Paul needs to become a one-issue candidate:

    I was against the war. On principle. In 2002.

    People don’t know or care about The Gold Standard.

    They want to know where you stand on the Mesopotamian Clusterfuck.

    More specifically, they want to know you were against it.

  4. I’m not saying that there should be a need for “another Iraq,” but it’s a truism that “we always fight the last war.” Basically, you expect things to go as they have in the past, but advancements in technology, military thinking and social policy mean that you’ll have to learn a new way of doing things.

    We went into Iraq 2 thinking it would be like Iraq 1. To some degree it was, and toppling Saddam was relatively easy. But then what? They have never figured out how to change culture and politics within an occupied country.

    Maybe bringing in experts in economics, health care, transportation and education before a battle is fought would make an occupation go a lot better. People that have schools, jobs, water and electricity are a whole lot less likely to fight you, as they would have something to lose.

    This of course sidesteps the question of whether we should have invaded in the first place, and the fact that they allowed stockpiles of weapons to just sit in the desert until anyone who wanted an AK-47 and some grenades to come along.

  5. I say we go for “Super Friends” and get that announcer guy, if he’s still alive, to strengthen our resolve and sap the will of our enemies…

    “… meanwhile, back in Tehran, Black Manta is cooking up yet another nefarious plan…”

  6. “People that have schools, jobs, water and electricity are a whole lot less likely to fight you, as they would have something to lose.”

    If said people know they might be killed by suicide bombers for getting near the newly-built infrastructure, they have a lot to lose and will react accordingly.

    People in Iraq are strapping bombs to their bodies for various reasons, but one of the most prominent ones is their desire to get us to vacate the country.

    That fact represents PROFOUND disagreement, and disagreement of that kind can’t be overcome by the presence of a few more lower-level American bureacrats.

  7. I don’t like the phrase “…if we have to do another Iraq,” either. But what about Afghanistan? We pretty much had to do that, and leaving it as a lawless territory up for grabs by domestic and foreign armed groups didn’t turn out so well when it was tried in the 1990s.

    What if we have to do another Afghanistan?

  8. I am trying to think…an occupational military force coupled with a group of bureaucrats administering a country in our vision…

    I can’t think of the word for it, but it’ll come to me. I’ll ask some of my British friends; they’re always good at coming up with stuff like that.

  9. Is Rudy saying that it might be necessary to install another pro-Iran regime in the Middle East, and next time he’d like to do it without sparking a civil war?

  10. For an example of the poorest political writing you’ll ever encounter, go here:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-cavanaugh8may08,0,1681170.story?coll=la-opinion-center

  11. The best solution would be to air-drop tens of thousands of lawyers into Iraq.

    Good for us; good for them; win-win as far as I see it.

  12. Did anyone else here get a virus or trojan infection when they visited Reason earlier this morning? Everytime I visited Reason or Hit & Run earlier this morning my anti-virus software would indicate I picked up an infection. It cleaned it, but it would come back whenever I returned to any Reason sites. It didn’t happen this time though, so they must have fixed their problem.

  13. Oh yeah. Another layer of federal bureaucracy, that’s exactly what we need to make our military adventurism work.

  14. They have never figured out how to change culture and politics within an occupied country.

    Sure they have. You nuke them until the entire culture accepts that they are losers, completely surrenders and adopts whatever form of government you give to them.

    For some reason, people dont like Truman’s nation building techniques.

  15. There’s something to be said for dumping our nation’s bureaucrats on our nation’s worst enemies.

  16. Smartass sob- I was experiencing the same thing this morning. It seems to have cleared up now.

  17. Yes, I also got a virus alert.

  18. I did too but when I actually ran Symantec it showed nothing.

  19. Is this the point where I act superior because Im running linux?

  20. More specifically, they want to know you were against it.

    Not really. They want to know what you intend to do about it.

    Sure they have. You nuke them until the entire culture accepts that they are losers, completely surrenders and adopts whatever form of government you give to them.

    Historically, the only way to make any kind of fundamental change in a hostile power is to traumatize them so thoroughly their spirit is broken. Contrast Germany after WWI (very little of the war was fought in Germany, and the trauma was relatively low) and WWII (flattened, unconditional surrender).

    We no longer fight to achieve unconditional surrender, but rather work toward exit strategies, so it should be no wonder that our enemies don’t transform.

  21. Maybe we can get the Rudy Korps some snappy black uniforms. Shiny black boots, and a riding crop (and maybe monacles) are essential accessories.

  22. Contrast Germany after WWI (very little of the war was fought in Germany, and the trauma was relatively low) and WWII (flattened, unconditional surrender)

    This is so wrong. Germans were traumatized by and after the war. They didn’t call the British policy a starvation blockade for nothing.

    In fact, if the Germans hadn’t been so traumatized, it is doubtful they would have listened to the Nazi’s at all.

  23. Maybe we have to start thinking about some kind of hybrid organization of our military and our civilian agencies of the government.

    Fuck.
    That.
    Seriously, who thinks that Ali G here would stop at using such a governmental hybrid in a non-domestic capacity?

  24. In fact, if the Germans hadn’t been so traumatized, it is doubtful they would have listened to the Nazi’s at all.

    Traumatized, yes. Their national mythology destroyed? No.

  25. The next time we invade a country, let’s please remember to send the Commerce Department, and maybe the Interior Department as well, as long as someone stays behind to feed the two-headed turtle. (I don’t know if Interior still has a two-headed turtle, but they used to.)

  26. Please, there was no monolithic “national Mythology”.

    Every unifier of Germany built their own version which they then sold to the masses.

  27. We didn’t level Panama, or destroy its national mythology.

    The important difference is to have people on our side, who are viewed as legitimate by the relevant publics, BEFORE we invade the country.

    The opposition in Venezuela. The existing, though persecuted, democrats in Germany and Japan. The Ahmed Shah Masood people in Afghanistan.

    And no, air dropping in an international scam artist with no local cred alonside 500 mercenaries to try to stage a DeGaulle in Paris moment doesn’t count.

  28. Not Venezuela, Panama.

    Cripes, I’m going to start giving people ideas.

  29. This is so wrong. Germans were traumatized by and after the war. They didn’t call the British policy a starvation blockade for nothing.

    Germany ended WWI with its economy and infrastructure largely intact, and with the vast majority of the fighting done outside of German territory. The regime change in Germany wasn’t dictated by the allies, but occurred before the armistice. Hell, most of the damage to Germany itself occurred after the war, and as such rather than tearing down the aggressive elements of German culture only reinforced them.

    Contrast this to the way WWII ended, and you might get a feel for why Germany went back to war a generation after WWI, but became virtually a pacifist state after WWII.

  30. We didn’t level Panama, or destroy its national mythology.

    We were also never at war with Panama in any meaningful way.

    The important difference is to have people on our side, who are viewed as legitimate by the relevant publics, BEFORE we invade the country.

    Except when we don’t (see, e.g., Germany and Japan).

  31. We no longer fight to achieve unconditional surrender…

    Exactly who in Iraq would we fight to unconditional surrender?

    And how would we do it?

  32. I knew it!

    I always said that Dennis Kucinich’s wacky Department of Peace would turn into just what Wacky Dragster Rudy is proposing–a Nation Building Bureaucracy! Bomb ’em and Build “em…

    Does any one remember the Mouse that Roared? Only they wanted to surrender BEFORE the bombing part.

  33. “””We no longer fight to achieve unconditional surrender, but rather work toward exit strategies, so it should be no wonder that our enemies don’t transform.”””

    I agree with Isaac, whom do you expect to surrender, the Iraqis? Terror organizations don’t surrender, so forget AQ.

    When was the last time the US made ANYONE surrender?

  34. RC Dean,

    “We were also never at war with Panama in any meaningful way.”

    We used our military forces to overthrow their government and install a democratic, US-friendly regime. You know, exactly what you think our military should be used for? It wasn’t terribly difficult, but I assure you, to the Panamanians, they were at war with us in a very meaningful way. Thousands of them were killed, and their country was occupied by a foreign military.

    “Except when we don’t (see, e.g., Germany and Japan).” Both Germany and Japan had pre-existing democratic parties that commanded the support of a large segment of their populaces. Though I’ll admit, “on our side” could have been better-phrased.

  35. We made Noriega surrender.

  36. Joe, are you really equating the capture of Noriega to the surrenders of WWI and WWII?

    It’s night and day.

  37. TrickyVic,

    A quantitative difference, not a qualitative one.

  38. Not sure if I remember correctly but Noriega was captured, he did not surrender Panama.

    A surrender and a capture is not the same thing.

  39. Actually, Ron Paul was against the war as early as 1998 when he voted to not make it America’s interest for regime change in Iraq. Go watch some of his Youtube clips.

    Ron Paul would want us to just leave by the way.

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