You'll never catch me praising the journalistic prowess of the New York Times, but I was surprised to find this well-written article about "The Bush Plan" on their site. It may bother some of you, but this is one of those rare cases where their honesty is brutal- not unfair. I agree that Bremer and Sanchez weren't all that effective together- but that's okay, because now they're gone. I agree that early efforts at implementing the Iraqi Security Force was a "rush to failure"- but that's okay, because they brought in LTG Petraeus to fix things. Mistakes will be made. They are, in fact, expected. It's important that our leaders be honest about those mistakes (not dwell on them), and it's more important that they support the commanders on the ground as they learn from those mistakes and help them to get it right next time. This NY Times article shows that our current administration and ground force commanders have been doing exactly that.
If you read the article, you'll see that it spells out what went wrong, and then details how we've fixed it or are planning to fix it. I found no irrational implications that Bush or Rummy should resign. I found no charges of incompetence or mismanagement. The article supports what I've been saying all along- that this operation is going as good, if not better, as we should reasonably expect it to be going- especially given the fact this is our first attempt at transforming a brutal 30+ year-old totalitarian society into a peaceful democratic society in the mideast. We've had a plan from the start and as with all plans, everything changed with the first gunshot. We've adapted with the changes, and with the lessons we're learning- we'll be that much better at this from now on.
I wish more articles like this would get out there. One thing I've learned from this war is that Americans have come to expect the impossible from us. It's irrefutably true that we're the most formidable military force on this planet. That doesn't qualify us as miracle workers. We can't force people to change their attitudes or overcome their fears overnight. There's some things we just can't do. We assess the situation and deal with it as best we can. Sometimes it may cost a lot of money, the number of casualties may be tragic, and it may take more than 6 months or even 6 years. This is something Americans need to understand- especially now. I appreciate their confidence in us, but unrealistic expectations can be harmful to our mission.
I've been asked about my thoughts on the recently released Duelfer Report. Those who know me will recognize the results of this report- I've been predicting them for over a year now. I never believed that there were actual WMD's in Iraq. I always believed that Saddam wanted the world to believe that he did have them. He was obviously successful because the entire world believed he had them. My feeling was that he was trying to keep the Kurds and the Shi'a at bay. He's claiming it was Iran that spooked him. Doesn't matter. The fact is Saddam was playing a dangerous geopolitical "game," and it turns out that he was successfully corrupting the UN as part of his overall strategy (this was news to me, but it didn't surprise me). As far as I'm concerned, there are two different ways to handle him in this scenario- the pre-9/11 way and the post 9/11 way:
1) Pre-9/11: Pressure him, sanction him, yell at him, do whatever you can to scare him into submission. How long should the pressure be applied? I guess that was the big question. 5 years? 10 years? We did it with limited success for 12 years. During that time, millions of Iraqis suffered greatly, thousands were killed, and Saddam survived comfortably by building a real "coalition of the bribed and coerced" that would have made John Kerry jealous (France, Russia, etc.).
2) Post-9/11: Take him out- pure and simple. The time for fun and games is over. If you want to "feign" mass destruction capability, then we'll let you pretend all you want in the comforts of a 5x12 cell. It's a post-9/11 world, mideastern dictators. Get used to it.
Some might disagree with me, and I respect that. I'm just not going to be one to say, "Wait a minute- let's give it some time. Maybe he's just bluffing. Let's ask the countries that he's bribing to help us figure everything out and solve the problem." If it were a drug dealer we're talking about, then maybe. But a guy who boasts weapons of mass destruction? Not a chance. Not on my watch. I'm with Dubya.
Me Bob Dole
Great words from Bob Dole as he accepted the Thayer Award at my former "Rockbound Highland Home." I'm predicting that his speech will motivate the Cadets to win a football game this year. Maybe even this weekend!
You MUST check out this site- Kerry Haters for Kerry. It's way too funny... (Hat Tip- Instapundit)
Even FUNNIER: The folks at Jib Jab have done it again. You dare not miss Good to Be in DC. My favorite part of the political season is the humor...