Thursday, December 23, 2004

Defending Rumsfeld

Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant piece not only defending Rumsfeld but placing him in the category of George Marshall as a visionary and effective leader. Hanson thoroughly refutes the caterwauling from the left (and regrettably some from the right) over the perfectly accurate comment about going to war with the army you have.

Hanson points out some interesting facts:
1. 784 out of 804 Humvees in that specific unit were already up-armored. In WWII US tankers fought for three years in light-armored Sherman tanks called 'Ronson lighters'
2. Mainstays of the early Pacific theater flew practically in flying coffins - the Devastator torpedo bomber and the Brewster Buffalo fighter. Should we have held the secretary of war responsible?
3. Troop strength isn't the key, appropriate usage is. Alexander conquered the known world with 50,000 troops. Xerxes couldn't defeat the Greeks with 500,000.

He concludes:

The blame with this war falls not with Donald Rumsfeld. We are more often the problem — our mercurial mood swings and demands for instant perfection devoid of historical perspective about the tragic nature of god-awful war. Our military has waged two brilliant campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been an even more inspired postwar success in Afghanistan where elections were held in a country deemed a hopeless Dark-Age relic. A thousand brave Americans gave their lives in combat to ensure that the most wicked nation in the Middle East might soon be the best, and the odds are that those remarkable dead, not the columnists in New York, will be proven right — no thanks to post-facto harping from thousands of American academics and insiders in chorus with that continent of appeasement Europe.

Out of the ashes of September 11, a workable war exegesis emerged because of students of war like Don Rumsfeld: Terrorists do not operate alone, but only through the aid of rogue states; Islamicists hate us for who we are, not the alleged grievances outlined in successive and always-metamorphosing loony fatwas; the temper of bin Laden's infomercials hinges only on how bad he is doing; and multilateralism is not necessarily moral, but often an amoral excuse either to do nothing or to do bad — ask the U.N. that watched Rwanda and the Balkans die or the dozens of profiteering nations who in concert robbed Iraq and enriched Saddam.

Donald Rumsfeld is no Les Aspin or William Cohen, but a rare sort of secretary of the caliber of George Marshall. I wish he were more media-savvy and could ape Bill Clinton's lip-biting and furrowed brow. He should, but, alas, cannot. Nevertheless, we will regret it immediately if we drive this proud and honest-speaking visionary out of office, even as his hard work and insight are bringing us ever closer to victory.

Read it all.

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