Monday, April 10, 2006

TIME MAGAZINE PUBLISHES A PIECE by a former senior military officer, Lieut. General Greg Newbold, saying the Iraq war was a mistake. Here are a few things Newbold is not:

  • He is not antiwar.
  • He is not antimilitary.
  • He is not in favor of immediate troop withdrawal (at least for now).
  • He is not happy with blaming those who carry out the policy for the mistakes of those who made the policy.

Illustration of the last -- Condoleezza Rice:

I will admit my own prejudice: my deep affection and respect are for those who volunteer to serve our nation and therefore shoulder, in those thin ranks, the nation's most sacred obligation of citizenship. To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it.

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results. [Emphasis added.]

Direct hit.

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