Thursday, December 16, 2004

Gin Rummy?

Tom Donnelly says Donald Rumsfeld is focused too much on the future and should be dealing with the present -- win this war first, worry about the next one later.

Meanwhile, on NRO, the editors take Sens. McCain (Wongdoer's favorite -- ugh) and Hagel to task for breaking with the Secretary on the flimsiest of reasons (and essentially giving comfort to the enemy). Here is the key statement from NRO:

The comment that has most angered Rumsfeld's detractors is his statement that you go to war with the Army you have. That may have been too frank in such a forum, but it was true. We went into Iraq with a military not yet fully transformed to adjust to 21st-century reality, which turned out to include an insurgency launched in a harsh urban environment. If Rumsfeld's hawkish critics, some of whom were banging the drums for the Iraq war for years, thought that war could be responsibly fought only with an Army equipped with 8,000 up-armored Humvees, they had adequate time to make that known — or at least lessen their enthusiasm for the enterprise accordingly. Of course, they didn't.

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Behind much of the criticism of Rumsfeld is the idea that he has disastrously skimped on troop levels, especially when it comes to the occupation. But insurgencies aren't crushed by sheer numbers. Would that it were so. Counter-insurgency depends on intelligence and a sound political strategy, which in this case involves integrating Iraqi forces into the fight and moving ahead with the elections. Given that more troops would require an even larger logistical tail (read: more Humvees and “soft” vehicles carrying supplies, i.e. more targets) to support them, it makes sense that commanders on the ground aren’t asking for significantly more troops.

More importantly, some of Rumsfeld's harshest critics are the biggest doves in the Senate, most notably John Kerry and the Commie-coddling defense-cutter Christopher Dodd. (See here for Dodd's hypocrisy). It's easy to get out in front and grandstand, but when the real problems stem from Congressional strings tied to military procurement, the glass-house dwellers shouldn't be the ones hurling rocks.

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