Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Applying the Principles of War to Harriet Miers SCOTUS Nomination

Major Mike

MOOSEMUSS. Yes, MOOSEMUSS. That is what came to mind when the discussion amongst the right about the Harriet Miers nomination went into full tilt yesterday…MOOSEMUSS.

Hat tip to Mr. Atos for planting the seed with his Bangalore Torpedo piece, and after all the rancor yesterday, I thought, MOOSEMUSS.

I don’t buy the theory that in an instant, that the President, who incidentally, got the GWOT right, and the John Roberts nomination right, who has Dick Cheney as his VP and Condi Rice as his SOS…blew a gasket and has gotten this completely wrong. I thought…maybe …MOOSEMUSS.

I think that the President had many possible choices here, but I think he chose to be a bit more devious than he is being given credit for. I think he, as Mr. Atos points out, is taking this opportunity to covertly attack the leadership and structure of the Democrat base. Why do I think that? MOOSEMUSS.

MOOSEMUSS is the easily learned acronym that highlights the nine, generally accepted, Principles of War. Notice I didn’t say battle. Battle…a general encounter between armies, ships of war, or airplanes. War…a period of declared and open hostilities. For the uninitiated, fighting wars…protracted periods of combat, and fighting battles…encounters between warring forces, are two entirely different matters and require two entirely different schemes. One, war, requires strategic thinking, and battles, require tactical thinking. These are two entirely different operational levels.

So, when I think MOOSEMUSS, I am not considering the tactical, I am considering the strategic.

Let’s look at the Miers nomination and see if, somehow, the guy who got the GWOT, may also get the Principles of War, when it comes to waging a long term strategic campaign against the Democrats.

M – Mass – Concentrate Combat Power at decisive time and place.

I think the President gets it…this is not the time to force an all out fight with the Democrats…he is not willing to expend all of his political capital in order to push through a more controversial nomination. Let’s chip away until the mid-term election, but let’s don’t give them any additional ammo going into them.

O – Objective – Direct every military operation against a clearly defined, decisive and obtainable objective.

Again, this nomination, while important, is not the final conservative objective…I would view that as the ultimate emasculation of the Democrat Party to the point it is ineffective as an organization. This nomination is an intermediate objective, but not the final objective…no need to expend all of your ammo here.

O – Offensive – Seize, retain and exploit the initiative.

This nomination is a home run here. The Dems were obviously preparing for the worst…basically any other, very conservative judge, they were ready. They would have come out of the box on Monday morning with their canned offensive and dominated the evening news with their media blitz. The President, with this nomination, redefined the fight, put the Dems on defense, and is able to maintain the initiative, against the Democrat party for the foreseeable future. Harry Reid endorsing Miers, is a much a capitulation as it is an endorsement. The President put the Dems on their heels and took away their ammo…

S – Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time, a place and in a manner for which he is unprepared.

See above- Offensive. This move completely disarmed the Dems. They were immediately frozen, and have yet to get any traction on this issue, in any coherent way. This was achieved by coming across with a surprise nomination, not by attacking their prepared defenses.

E - Economy of Force – Allocate minimum combat power to secondary efforts.

This is not to diminish the importance of this nomination, but clearly the President’s nominee will be confirmed with about zero political effort. This allows the President to maintain his momentum without getting bogged down with this nomination. Virtually no expenditure of political capital is required.

M – Maneuver - Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through flexible application of combat power.

Again, suffice it to say that the President did not charge into the Dems main defenses with a nominee that they were anticipating…he went widely around them and gained the offensive advantage as a result. In football terms, he’s off and running on a nifty end-around.

U - Unity of Command – For every objective, ensure unity of effort under on responsible commander.

In the end President Bush will be remembered for a lot of things, this nomination being one of them, but he has demonstrated an overt willingness to accept responsibility for his decisions and stick by them with confidence and certainty. This is what we ask of our leaders, and I see no reason why he should have abdicated responsibility for this choice to the far right, independent legal scholars, or the tooth fairy. In the end this is his choice to make, and all of the MMQBs should sit back and watch the start of the game before predicting gloom and doom. A committee’s choice on this one would have produced slightly different, but equally as contentious commentary.

S – Security – Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

Without knowing the exact information the Dems had on the “A” list nominees, it would be impossible to know where the fight would head after the nomination was made public. By going to the “A-“ list, the President did not put himself in the position of losing control of the nomination unexpectedly. By surprising the Dems on this one, control of this nomination will remain in the hands of the Republicans.

S – Simplicity – Prepare clear, complicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure understanding.

An extremely simple plan that out maneuvered and out thought the Dems.


MOOSEMUSS corollary ... perfect can be the enemy of good enough.

In the end, pushing through the “perfect” conservative judge would have likely expended a tremendous amount of political capital…the President’s as well as that of many Senators. Isn’t this plan a bit more palatable in that light. We may still have considerable momentum going into the mid-term elections…remember this is not a single battle.


One last thought…how are the way-Lefties going to respond when the Supreme Court battles they anticipated never materialized, and the mainstream liberal leadership looks ineffective again? Fragmented? Discontented? Disorganized? Inept? I suggest that avoiding a battle here, and out maneuvering the Dems, will cause them more problems than Harriet Miers will ever cause conservative Republicans.

37 comments:

Jim Boston said...

Congratulations... this is the most lucid analysis of this nomination I have seen. Initially, I was underwhelmed but with reflection your observation that this is a strategic decision is VERY much on target.

Major Mike said...

Thank you Jim. I appreciate it! MM

Michael Lyster said...

Splendid analysis---as noted by an earlier comment, liberals misunderestimated his strategery once again... We are witnessing one of the smartest "dumb" presidents we're ever likely to live under, whose impact may not, like Reagan, be appreciated for another 10-20 years. Except by us.

AndMoreArtInterests said...

Yes, yes, yes!! And not only did the liberals misunderestimate Bush...again. I think it will be seen that many conservatives did as well, who incidentially, are sounding like so much of the shrill liberal/lefty gang for heaven's sake!

Corrie said...

Spot on. I was thinking the same thing the morning of the announcement. The best way to win a fight is to avoid it.

Hopefully the carpers on the right will grumble themselves into silence and get back to work on "60 in '06".


btw - Pardon the double-post. Haloscan and blogger comments don't seem to be coordinated.

Ed Brenegar said...

The conventional wisdom is that Bush's standing is in decline and this is a "weak" choice. What it may show is that Bush wants to win the war, and is willing to forego unnessary, costly battles. I don't think it is so much Bush out thinking the Democrats. It is rather is focus is on winning the war, and not fighting battles. Pretty smart.

Ralph said...

You have it nailed.

G8rRanger said...

Not to mention the principle that once the Commander has decided and issued the order, the time for the staff carping ends.

This is the CinC's call. He has seen the S2, S3 and S4 portions of the brief and knows his Intent...

Great analysis.

RLTW and Garryowen!

Dave

Kathy said...

Thank God someone is not so angry and stupid as most of the commentators. I believe that this is not the time to pick a fight, and it is the time to pick someone who understands the global war on terror. And the supreme court does need someone who lives a real life.....

Snprviking said...

Little did I realize that an acronym I learned 29 yers ago at TBS would be put to such good use.
Bravo Zulu.
Well written, well reasoned, well said.
George Will could take some pointers from you.
Semper Fi

Major Mike said...

Thanks Sniper...missed you by a couple of years...Fox '78. MM

Anonymous said...

Great Analysis. I always thought George Will was full of himself anyhow.

G-man said...

Great insight. I'd been thinking there was much more to the nomination of Miers than what one could see at the surface. Obviously many conservative bloggers and commentators didn't let that stop them from blasting the nomination -- ie: most of the NRO Corner Gang and George Will, to name a few.

I think you've nailed it here, and I've linked to your post from my blog. Thank you!

Keep up the good work!

G-man said...

OOPS! Here's the link to my blog. Sorry about that!

Major Mike said...

ccnjfhG-Man...thanks for the link on your blog...I'll stop by often. thanks for the great ink as well. MM

JB said...

Excellent analysis. Your last thought is key -- how will the Democrats explain to their LLL base that they let Myers through? By '06, she'll have been on the SCOTUS long enough to mollify the freaked out conservatives while enraging the moonbats.

John Walter said...

MOOSEMUSS. Dang! You caused me a flashback to Quantico twenty years ago. I could remember everything except the "simplicity" part. Maybe that's why my ops orders were always to long.

AST said...

Brilliant. You agree with me!

Actually, I didn't know MOOSEMUSS, but I thought this was a pretty good strategic appointment, because there's very little for the Democrats to attack other than her religion, and though I didn't know Ms. Miers, I have come to trust the CinC's judgment on things like this. He may not be good at impromptu speaking, but he's not the dummy George Will and his elite media friends think he is.

Only one question about MOOSEMUSS. Where does Prayer fit in?

Kerry said...

Prayer fits into this phrase, "The Democrats don't have a...".
Terrific Maj Mike. All the "Why isn't she Luttig, we wanted a fight!" crticism made me suspect the President was fighting a completely different war than the Dhims. Now instead of giving them a battle which, even if lost would give them a "Remember Bataan" rallying cry, they can hardly rally around the memory of being ourmaneuvered. "We were inept in defeat at the battle for Harriet Miers! Vote for us!" And to attack feminist identity politics, political speech codes, and the death culture, who better than an unmarried, Evangelical, Sunday school marm from Texas?

Anonymous said...

Nicely done.

Tim,
Fox '82

Anonymous said...

Yup - you nailed it Major.

This president has a much longer, deeper and more focused vision than many of his supporters.

The Red Knight said...

Roger, Major. I like your analysis, but if applied to the impact on the Republican Party, the results may reflect a rift in Repulican leadership. That ain't good for 2006. For example, Miers' nomination was as much of a surprise to the Republicans as Democrats. That could have been avoided. POTUS could have massed Republican forces before the announcement in order to leverage the impact of mass.

Paradox said...

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. - Sun Tzu

Keaukina said...

I think Bush took the nature and strengh of his available forces into account when making this choice of strategy. Senate Republicans have proven themselves to be unreliable, cowardly and inept in countless recent skirmishes. Could he really rely on them in an all-out battle? I think there would be too much "friendly fire" and the prospect for sucess in a serious battle would be very much in doubt, given the overall spinelessness demonstrated by many of these senators.

Johnboy said...

Totally agree with the analysis. McCain and his gang, as well as the other POTUS wannabe's, would not have the stomach for the battle. Despite all the bloodthirsty noise from the sidelines a conservative favourite would have failed. This gets it done without relying on their RINO support.

Roger Fraley said...

The MOO part is similar to Nathan B. Forrest's "Get there first with the most men." Very good posting. Glad you didn't quit for good.

Heavy B said...

It is certainly possible that all the carping on the right will actually HELP in the confirmation process; "If she's so extreme, why don't the extremists like her?"

Maybe G.Will and Rich Lowry were asked to "drop smoke" to obscure troop movement...

Heavy B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The way I see it is the Dems were braced for a trench war because they had no choice. A lot of Righties wanted a trench war too because they figured they had superior numbers and could vanquish the hated Dems for good. Fortunately, there was a smart leader who knew that going straight in against an entrenched enemy is seldom the best move, and further, that the troops in the Senate were not as strong as the Righties thought. The leader instead chose a flanking maneuver and took his objective with hardly a shot fired. The result was interesting -- The Dems were confused and could not react as a unit. Individuals mounted an uncoordinated response with no real impact. The Righties however were angry. They wanted a battle, and felt their leader owed them the privilege to go at the hated Dems.

In other words, the leader wanted the objective, but the troops wanted the fight. Who do you think is smarter?

Kevin M said...

The whole thing was a puzzle to me at first. And yes I was wanting to stick one in the libs face. This strategery, in light of your analysis, proves to me once again why I absoloutely love this President.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything said, but I still have a problem with the nominee.

We just don't know if she's a Souter or a Thomas.

I want a known Thomas. If that leads to a fight, then so be it.

I don't think that Bush gets "Mass." This is the decisive time and place for winning the last left wing stronghold... the Supreme Court. If we've been Soutered on this one, then all right wing gains made in the last twenty years go for nothing at all.

Kevin P. said...

Most everyone here are commenting based on the assumption that she will turn out to be a true conservative in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. She may not. In fact, she will most likely have to recuse herself on many key SCOTUS issues because of her role as chief white house counsel. I wholeheartedly disagree with this analysis. Those who think Senate Republicans were too weak-kneed, should have had Janice Rogers Brown placed before them. She would have splintered the Dems into a million pieces and energized the conservatives much more than Michael Moore, the Mass. Supreme Court and Hilary Clinton could ever do. Instead, Miers has done nothing but deflate the core of the Republican Party.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who think this nominee is a great move...think about this...Clinton puts up Ginsburg, a radical leftist out of the mainstream ideologue, and she gets in 96-3? By not putting up a Luttig or Brown, Bush is saying in a sense, our judicial philosophies are not in the mainstream, but Ginsburg is. A 25 year fight has been delayed. It's a shame, because we may never get the fight now. This is a betrayal. It is huge blunder of epic proportions.

Mr.Atos said...

If you think that a President who has proven to be a formidable adversary at every challenge; who, despite the odds, championed two elections has suddenly, with the choice of Harriet Miers, has become an imbecile...

...Check your premises. you'll find that one of thm is wrong.

Chollaboy said...

Very insightful article, and most of the comments are intellegent and thoughtful. No one seems to ask the question---can Ms. Miers put aside her personal convictions to evaluate each case before the Court? I think this is the really huge void in our knowledge.

Anonymous said...

but more likely the Evangelicals are more hopeful that she will not put aside her personal feelings to decide cases of law

Anonymous said...

Applying Principles of War to civilian and civil affairs is not only foolish, it's dangerous.