Wednesday, April 12, 2006

CNN.com - Why Iraq was a mistake - Apr 10, 2006

CNN.com - Why Iraq was a mistake - Apr 10, 2006:
LIEUT. GENERAL GREG NEWBOLD (RET.)

"In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture -- who became career members of the military during those rough times -- the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again."
[...]

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.

Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. A few of the most senior officers actually supported the logic for war. Others were simply intimidated, while still others must have believed that the principle of obedience does not allow for respectful dissent. The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.

The problem is that the administration has done such a good job of conflating Iraq with terrorism that a lot of American's still think invading Iraq was a necessary action in the war on terror.

What can you do when your government is better at propagating propaganda than the Soviets used to be?

Ignoring the fact that the war was unnecessary, one of my central issues with this administration is the way, after 9/11, NOTHING was asked of the American public... Americans were ready to pitch-in: American business could have been challenged to put America on the path to energy independence (a long path - but one with long term rewards in light of China's and India's growing energy requirements); Americans could have been asked to conserve energy, donate time and resources, etc.

The leadership vacuum in this area is profound.

4 comments:

Capt. Fogg said...

Excellent points. I think nothing was asked of us because this war was meant to be entertainment and diversion. The ex-cheerleader Bush wants cheerleaders not patriots, he wants us to buy, not to create and most of all he wants a tool to use against his critics.

Reign of Reason said...

But even for the “CEO President” creating team unity should be a priority. He had such an opportunity to bring all of America together after 9/11… so he asks the military to destroy our enemies and our citizens to go shopping. How does that bring people together; make them all feel a part of the team?

It doesn’t.

I guess that Harvard Business school education bubbled to the top: get people consuming… focus on the economy and everything else will (magically) be ok.

That’s one of the big problems with Bush: the fundamental belief that a free market delivers on social issues (i.e. – that it fosters social cohesion, addresses economic inequality better than government policy, etc.).

His background also explains his distain for actually doing anything with the tools of government (e.g. – Katrina, Corporate malfeasance, etc.).

I just wonder if he realizes what an incredibly terrible job he’s doing…

jj said...

RORI just wonder if he realizes what an incredibly terrible job he’s doing…

I would love to know that. Is he so cut off from the real world that he thinks he is doing a good job or does he truly just not care? I fear that question will never be answered.

Reign of Reason said...

Normally, I'd say it'd be impossible for him not to know bad a job he's done... But in the bizzaro world he obviously inhabits; who knows.

What's amazing is that 30% of the people are still behind this idiot.