Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Before You Read This...
...you have to go read this post at Black5's site. It's excellent. After you read it, come back and see why I disagree with most of what his military friends had to say about the war in Iraq.
1) Duration Plus Six. Just like World War II. Wow- that's a far out concept. Except this isn't WWII. In WWII, we were working towards a surrender. When Hitler (or his post-suicide stand-in) surrenders, we win. When Emperor Hirohito surrenders, we win. What an unbelievably simple concept! Those days are long gone, my friends.
Remember when the Taliban surrendered in Afghanistan? That's because they didn't. Remember when Saddam surrendered his control of Iraq? Me neither. Ask Saddam who the lawful ruler of Iraq is, and you'll hear something far different than what Emperor Hirohito would have said in 1946. Our objective in Iraq was to defeat Saddam (took 3 weeks), and to create a free and stable Iraq (still working on it). To think that this should have been done in 6 months or less is pure fantasy. This war will continue after we leave (the Iraqis will defeat the insurgency- not us), and I promise you will never see a formal surrender come from Zarqawi, bin Laden, Saddam's henchmen, or anyone else involved in the terrorist-sponsored insurgency. To say that we should have deployed forces for "the duration of the war plus 6 months" would have been laughable if it had been said before the initial invasion. The fact that people (military people even) are saying it now is simply hard for me to believe- but they did say it! Maybe I'm not understanding them...
2) Troop Strength. First off, I do agree that Shinseki wasn't forced out. He would have said something by now if he felt like he was forced out, and the whole conspiracy makes no sense. He served his time, and he served it well (except for the beret thing- that was just plain stoopid). Yes- he happened to be of the opinion that more soldiers would be needed in Iraq for the post-conflict Stability and Support Operations (SASO). The fact is, there were plenty of Generals who took that view. My take on this is simple- so what? Most Generals (notably including the one who was in charge of CENTCOM at the time- Tommy Franks) shared the view that the SECDEF ultimately decided on. So what's the argument here? Was it stupid to go with the majority view as opposed to the minority? I think not. When high-ranking military and government officials have conflicting opinions, they discuss them. They weigh the pros and cons of each Course of Action, and they have healthy and productive debates. The one in charge makes the decision after weighing all the facts and opinions. The majority often rules, but not always. Folks, this is how it's supposed to work, and this is how it happened. Did Rumsfeld end up making the wrong decision? I won't pretend to know (because it's impossible to know for sure), but I certainly haven't seen anything to convince me that it was the wrong decision.
Remember the Mosul blast last month? Let me ask you a simple question. If more troops had been in the dining tent that day, would the blast have been prevented? Or would the blast have killed more troops? Think about it. We're fighting an insurgency here. We already have them grossly outnumbered. If we were up against the Nazi horde, things would be different- but this isn't WWII.
I agree that future military action is imminent, but I believe that there will be lots of behind the scenes diplomacy and coalition-building preceding it.
I disagree that we need more than 40,000 additional soldiers and I can assure you- there will not be a draft. The issue isn't numbers- we have enough troops. The issue is restructuring- force modernization. We need less artillery soldiers and more MP's, Civil-Military specialists, and intelligence specialists. We need fewer tanks (but we still need tanks!) and more armored humvees. We need a flexible, rapidly deployable, modular force- with just the right amount of light brigades and heavy brigades. We need fewer troops in Europe and Korea than we have right now. This is all being fixed as I type this. It won't happen overnight, but it might not happen at all if it weren't for the wisdom of Rumsfeld and his staff. Which brings me to my next point...
3) Rumsfeld Should Resign. This is a fun one to debate. Let's take the first point:
-He should accept responsibility and step down.
Now the obvious question- he should accept responsibility for what? The fact that Iraq is about to hold it's first free election in it's history? The fact that the people of Afghanistan held free elections last year and are now more concerned with opium crops than Taliban/al-Qaeda goons? Should he accept responsibility for restructuring our military to reflect the current threat environment as opposed to the non-existent Soviet threat that Clinton and the gang were poised to fight while terrorists enjoyed 8 long years of unhindered aggression towards the United States? Or should he accept responsibility for the left-wing/media-concocted "quagmire" that used to exist in Afghanistan before it moved to Iraq?
And the second point:
-Most feel that it's not fair to have higher standards for Soldiers than for the Civilian leaders of the DOD.
Absolutely correct. But let's not forget that soldiers (like me) are not under the media microscope. Let's not forget that Rumsfeld takes the spotlight whenever something goes wrong (or in most cases- when the media or Ted Kennedy pretend that something goes wrong), and is ignored for anything and everything that goes well. As a soldier, I can't relate to this sort of treatment. But I can say that if the media covered the actions of every soldier (including me) the way they covered SECDEF Rumsfeld, you would think that we were the most incompetent military in the history of the planet- and those who were dumb enough to believe all the media spin would be calling for all of our resignations! Wouldn't that be interesting?
I guess my advice to Blackfive's friends would be to stop watching so many CBS news broadcasts, start reading more blogs, and talk (and listen) to their friends who were there. He didn't mention whether any of his friends ever served in Iraq, but I'm guessing most of them haven't. I could be wrong.
I discussed many of these same issues in a recent interview with Marshall Masters of Cut to the Chase:
26-January-2005: Iraq War Fighter Captain Rick: "Is President Bush Writing Bigger Checks Than Our Military Can Cash?"
Last December, Captain Rick 2Slick, as he is known to netizens, weighed in on the honesty of the American media. Now, he does the same with the Iraqi people and gives his honest, boots-on-the-ground perspective on whether or not democracy can flourish in Iraq. He knows them well, having fought his way into Iraq in 2003 as a Captain in the US Army. He has just finished his second tour of duty in Kuwait and continues to fight the injustices of the American media on his war blog <2slick.blogspot.com>. He also addresses a key concern for YOWUSA.COM, that being the possibility that we may, ourselves, be dangerously over-extended in the Middle East. If you have nagging doubts, as we do, you'll appreciate his no-fluff assessment.
Back to the U of O
I haven't been able to follow up on this, but I got a great tip from GaijinBiker at Riding Sun- he caught University President Dave Frohnmayer squirming under the weight of an ever-increasing blogolanche. Go check it out.
Check out what Deb the Marine Mom had to say...