Mark Adams has called me "a voice of reason" while commenting on my "Fog of War Part 2" post. As I said to him earlier, I hope he will resist the temptation to crow "you see, Bush was wrong!! Bush had no plan!!," and so on, since he is very much not a fan of the man.
This is one of the basic facts of warfare that I hope to eventually make clear to non-military folks: you don't just expect things to blow up in your face in a war: sooner or later you can guarantee it.
Here's an excellent example: in 1944 military intelligence (uh-oh, the dreaded "Who knew what, and when?" effect!) indicated that several eight inch (203mm) guns were sited on the Pointe du Hoc, located on a 100-meter high cliff that provided excellent coverage of the Normandy beaches. Those guns would wreak havoc among the thin-skinned transports and assault craft during the invasion.
They handed that choice assignment to the Rangers. The morning of June 6, the Rangers climbed ropes, rope ladders, and in some cases cut hand-holds into the face of the cliff to reach the top. The Germans gunned them down mercilessly, but in the end the Rangers took Pointe du Hoc.
They also took nearly 200 casualties, both dead and wounded.
The guns weren't even there. They were several miles inland. The Germans hadn't gotten around to moving them yet.
My point here is that if today's atmosphere prevailed in 1944, at least some of the Republican Party opposition would have immediately accused the Rooseveldt administration of incompetance, poor planning, and so on.
We don't need that. That won't win this war. And -unless the reader is someone who is adamant about troops in Iraq at all, and just doesn't care what happens to the Iraqis after we leave- that sort of sniping does not help at all.
I'm sure at least some of the readers are wondering what I would call an "acceptable" criticism of the Bush administration. Here's one:
While the number of active-duty divisions on hand did not originally seem critical, it is becoming apparent that we need to devote at least two of them to Iraq for the forseeable future; call it 5-10 years. Even rotating brigades in and out on a regular basis won't address the fact that a minimum number of troops will be required in Iraq for a while. This puts a noticable crimp in our strategic reserve. If things go wahooni-shaped in Syria, Iran, or North Korea in the next (say) five years, our current forces would be stretched thin, to say the very least.
As far as anyone knows, the Bush administration has given no indication that they have even considered a significant increase in our active-duty forces, with "significant" being defined as at least two new divisions
It is our belief that this, combined with (other enumerated sane criticisms) shows that the current administration does not take this threat of medieval kleptocratic islamofacism seriously. That they, in fact, have assumed that an American victory is some sort of 21st-century Manifest Destiny, without serious forethought as to how our victory is, in fact, manifest.
Vote for XXX in November.
At the risk of sounding egocentric, Bush should be glad I'm not on the other side this fall... :)