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Fighting the Wrong War

Fred Kagan in the Weekly Standard on why Rumsfeld must go:

With more troops in Iraq during and immediately after the war, we would have been able to do the following things that we did not do:

* Capture or kill thousands of Iraqi soldiers who were at that time still concentrated in combat units and had not yet melted back into the countryside with their weapons and their skills.

* Guard the scores of enormous ammunition dumps from which the insurgents have drawn the vast majority of their weapons, ammunition, and explosives.

* Secure critical oil and electrical infrastructure that the insurgents subsequently attacked, setting back the economic and political recovery of Iraq.

* Prevent the development of insurgent safe havens in Najaf and Falluja, or at least disrupt them at a much earlier stage of formation.

* Work to interdict the infiltration of foreign fighters across Iraq’s borders.

If the U.S. Army had begun expanding in 2001, we would have been able to:

* Establish reasonable rotation plans for our soldiers that did not require repeatedly extending tours of duty beyond one year.

* Avoid the need to activate reservists involuntarily.

* Dramatically reduce the frequency with which soldiers return from one year-long tour only to be sent immediately on another.

* Let the troops that would still have been overstrained know that help really was on the way.

The U.S. military did not do these things because of Rumsfeld’s choices. He chose to protect a military transformation program that is designed to fight wars radically different from the one in which we are engaged. He chose to protect Air Force and Navy programs that are far less urgent and under far less strain during the current crisis rather than augmenting the service carrying the lion’s share of the load. He chose to focus on high-tech weapons technologies that are virtually useless to the troops now in Iraq rather than providing them sooner with the basic requirements of their current mission–including armored Humvees, body armor, and a regular complement of armored vehicles. Even the deployment of Stryker light armored vehicles, which many now tout as a major contribution to the fighting in Iraq, was not Rumsfeld’s initiative, but that of General Eric Shinseki. Shinseki was the Army chief of staff whom Rumsfeld drove out of office, partly for correctly predicting that Operation Iraqi Freedom would require more than the handful of units that Rumsfeld and his staff were willing to send.

It is not that Rumsfeld’s decisions were without a rationale. The secretary of defense simply chose to prioritize preparing America’s military for future conventional conflict rather than for the current mission. That position, based on the hope that the current mission would be of short duration and the recognition that the future may arrive at any moment, is understandable. It just turns out to have been wrong.

Update: Kevin Drum offers his two cents, Andrew Sullivan does the same

One thought on “Fighting the Wrong War”


    The Democratic Party that has produced such great leaders as Presidents
    Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy has fallen to new lows. The corruption
    started with President Johnson, and has continued with morally weak leaders
    like Carter and Clinton. Throughout most of the Party are spiritually
    insane doctrines such as the right to kill through abortion, the approval of
    homosexual lifestyles, and “the end justifies the means” mentality. While
    it is true that Republicans are also lacking in virtue, they come nowhere
    near the degree of arrogance, hypocrisy, vengeance, and self-righteousness
    that exists in the Democratic Party, where true wisdom is practically

    Today’s Democrats continue to “use” the media, the elderly, union workers,
    and minority groups to further their political ambitions. Their tactics
    include slander, lies and half-truths. Although the American public has
    rejected their permissive opinions, Democrats continue to act like they are
    the majority party, refusing to address how, or why their moral standards
    sicken most Americans, and others throughout the world.

    Democrats foolishly refuse to compare the millions killed through abortion
    to the deaths in the Iraq war that brought freedom to millions, or the death
    penalty that involves a trial by jury. Lacking a vision for the future and
    a sense of justice, Democrats do not see that a far smaller number have died
    in Iraq, and through the death penalty. Democrats often speak of “freedom,”
    but do not fight to defend the freedom of choice for human beings who are
    being considered for abortion. They remain indifferent to the fact that no
    legal defense or jury trial is allotted the innocents killed through

    Even Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that Catholics may disagree with the Pope on the reasons for going to war and the death penalty, but not on abortion or euthanasia because they are not on the same moral level:

    “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. . . . There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”
    (Memo to U.S. Bishops, June 2004).

    Many Democrats are very judgmental about the actions of President Bush
    because they fail to take a close look at the lies and deceitful actions of
    those in their own Party. For example:

    In the Presidential debate of Oct. 22, 1976 between President Ford and Jimmy
    Carter, Carter stated that he did not favor a constitutional amendment to
    outlaw abortion, and he would only work within the confines of the Supreme
    Court ruling to minimize the NEED for abortions. That is like saying, “I’m
    against slavery, but I will not work to change an unjust law, lets just work
    to reduce the NUMBER of slaves.” Republicans support a Human Life
    Amendment to our Constitution – Democrats do not. Abortion would already be
    outlawed in the USA if it were not for the Democratic Party.

    From a speech by President Johnson, Oct. 21, 1964, at Akron University,
    Ohio: “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from
    home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” In 1968,
    Johnson’s last full year as President, there were over 500,000 American
    soldiers in Vietnam. During Johnson’s Presidency, over 30,000 American
    soldiers died in the Vietnam War. In addition, by the end of 1968, millions
    of South Vietnamese civilians were left homeless, and over 180,000 North
    Vietnamese civilians had been killed.

    January 26, 1998: In the presence of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and
    Vice President Al Gore in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, President
    Clinton stated: “But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want
    you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual
    relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a
    single time — never. These allegations are false.” We know that Clinton
    not only lied with this statement, but a number of times before he admitted
    his guilt. The evidence of Clinton’s lack of wisdom is also shown in his
    pro-abortion beliefs, and his approval of homosexual lifestyles.

    In addition, for 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, federal help
    for Florida did not arrive until the 4th day after the hurricane. Clinton
    never assumed responsibility for this late action by his administration.

    Vincent Bemowski – Writer, Webmaster, & Veteran, U.S. Army

    Catholic Messages USA – Resources/News/Directory

    Menasha, Wisconsin

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