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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

War and Incompetence 

Tonight, Frontline had a documentary dealing with Neoconservatives and the conception of the Iraq war. Not much of the stuff there is new but it is nonetheless interesting viewing, and it has interviews with a variety of individuals whom I had never heard voice opinions on the subject before. You can watch it (its 90 minutes long) here.

I have to say that I was angry watching it. Neoconservatives like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, etc., railroaded the us into this war, while simultaneously ignoring army doctrine, which, following Vietnam, had tried to learn from its mistakes and (a)avoid quagmires, (b)use overwhelming force to achieve clearly defined objectives, and (c)always have an exit strategy. Existing plans for called for around 500,000 troops to carry out any Iraqi invasion/occupation/reconstruction, but Rumsfeld and Co. spent their time finding ways to get it down to the 140,000 troops that they really used, although they originally wanted to do it with just 50,000(!!!). We are seeing today the staggering consequences of this collosal blunder, as virtually all the problems there now stemmed from not having enough troops to (a)immediately restore order and public services, (b)blanket the country and especially the Sunni Triangle to stop insrugency, and (c)secure munitions caches, like the Al Qaqaa site. Now we have an insurgency that is growing all the time, an increasingly hostile population, no clear exit strategy, nearly 1100 dead, a military that is clearly overstretched, and incalculable damage to American international prestige from Abu Grhaib and non-existance of weapons on mass destruction.

And what is the one positive to take away from this that conservatives repeat robitically? That Saddam Hussein is out of power. Saddam Hussein who, we now know, had no weapons of mass destruction and connections with Al Qaeda that were teneous at best. Is that worth it? Will it be worth it in a year when 2500 American soldiers are dead?

This administration got everything it asked for. An opposition party that bent over with a smile, a media that spent most of its time chating USA USA USA, and basically carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. And they did not even have the competence to pull it off. Its hard to imagine what they could have done worse.

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