Tuesday, November 22, 2005

TWO ON IRAQ FROM SLATE

Christopher Hitchens assumes the role of National scold in "Nowhere To Go,"

http://www.slate.com/id/2130883/

which does a good job of offering nothing new and still staying readable... Mr. Hitchens decries the level of the debate as he thinks his way around the inside of the box...

If nothing else, the article is a front-runner for the "most question marks in a single paper" award...

Meanwhile, Fred Kaplan does a good job parsing the remarks of Representative John Murtha in "What Murtha Meant,"

http://www.slate.com/id/2130794/nav/tap2/

Kaplan concludes Murtha's confrontational statements need to be viewed in the context of a plan many insiders believe to be "the plan," which Murtha likely picked up from Pentagon insiders.

The plan? Put shortly, get out, but not very far. Exactly where "very far" is either hasn't been determined or more likely isn't being openly discussed due to its sensitive nature.

Why the plan? Two broad pressures:

First, most players have endorsed the consensus the American presence is doing more to promote the Iraqi insurgent uprising than quell it. Even the Iraqi government is suggesting it's time for us to go, or at least start looking for the door:

"Iraqi Leaders Call for Pullout Timetable"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051122/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_conference

But most importantly, the logistical structure of the US military is such that continuing the war effort will inevitably precipitate a political disaster at home or a humiliation overseas - or both.

The dilemma:

Remember the peace dividend and the 21st century Army that grew out of our "winning" the cold war? That leaner, smarter force without peer in dishing out shock & awe?

It's got no staying power. Peerlessness in getting in there and kicking ass has been bought with the coin of endurance. The army we have is just about all we can man and equip without breaking the bank and/or reinstating the draft, either of which is political suicide.

And just as shock & awe wears off so the equipment of shock & awe wears out...

A long time before GWB became President military professionals tried to peer into the future of war and thought they saw a place where shock & awe would trump the need to hold the ground.

This despite fifty years of military presence in Europe and forty in Korea.

They planned accordingly. They built an army that had maybe four years of fight in it without major reconstitution. Now we're almost three years into a conflict that has no end in sight and we'll be looking at those hard decisions just in time for the next election cycle.

Iraq isn't Vietnam. None of the many implied historical similarities are more than superficial coincidence. Yet in one uncanny way Iraq could be Vietnam all over again:

Our enemy doesn't have to beat us. All they have to do is wait for us to get tired of beating them.

Comments:
"...Iraq isn't Vietnam. None of the many implied historical similarities are more than superficial coincidence. Yet in one uncanny way Iraq could be Vietnam all over again:

Our enemy doesn't have to beat us. All they have to do is wait for us to get tired of beating them..."

Helped along in sickening fashion by the media which reports on US casualties daily - and nothing else.
 
One of the things that has led us to this point is the Military leadership. In what had been a primarily peactime military for the last 30+ years (with the abberation of Gulf War I), senior officers were not selected for Warrior qualities and achievements, but for Administrative and Political accumen.
 
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