Thursday, January 29, 2004

"Let Them Eat Cakewalk!" 
Thanks to some diligent readers, it seems we've identified the origin of the "cakewalk" meme.

Money quote from Adelman:

I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps.

The thing is, Scheer asserts that Pentagon intellectuals convinced themselves that "bringing peace and stability to Iraq would be a 'cakewalk' " (emphasis added.)

But bringing peace and stability is quite a different task from the far more limited task of demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq.

There is nothing in Adelman's argument which would suggest that he was referring to anything beyond the defeat of the Iraqi army in the field and the toppling of Saddam's regime.

As it turned out, Adelman was right. Saddam's army was defeated, and Baghdad overrun and taken, over much greater distances, with a fraction of the force, and with fewer coalition casualties than occured during the 1991 war--until now considered the gold standard of cakewalks

It's clear to me that Scheer's article misrepresented Adelman's words, without bothering to track down where they came from.


Further, it wasn't even a member of the Administration Scheer was misquoting. It was a "member of the defense policy board," who was once an assistant to Rumsfeld under the Ford administration (well, THAT'S a bit of a stretch, isn't it?), and an arms control director under president Reagan.

There is no way Adelman could be considered to be an officially sanctioned voice of the Administration. And as far as I can tell, no one in the Administration ever used that term, or anything remotely like it.

Scheer's "cakewalk" insinuation is--pardon the expression--only half-baked.

Splash, out


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