Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not an Honest Proposal

Other than slamming the President for not offering profuse apologies for "mistakes" in waging war in Iraq (yeah, FDR used his weekly radio addresses to list the errors he had--sheesh, wait for victory and a little perspective to list the mistakes), this author gives only the most vague suggestion to win in Iraq:

There's no shortage of good alternatives waiting in the wings. One that has recently garnered much attention is the military historian Andrew Krepinevich's "oil spot" strategy, which involves shifting the focus from killing insurgents to protecting civilians by pouring money and manpower into protected cantons where average Iraqis can see the tangible advantages of our system over Al Qaeda's.

The particulars of whatever strategy we decide to go with are, at this point, secondary. First, commitment to change must be made, and quickly.
The lack of patience is amazing. What we do is secondary to simply deciding to do something else? The author spends time lauding the military rather than setting forth why we need to change strategy and why he thinks we are losing. All he seems to be doing is making some sort of stab-in-the-back theory.

I do applaud the author's determination to win rather than just withdraw and risk the green Iraqi government losing to the Baathists and jihadis. And I find it hard to slam the author's suggestion about securing the population too much, since this is basically what we are doing. Except that the author apparently doesn't want us to go after the bad guys at the same time. Just sit in our defended enclaves, surrender the initiative to the enemy, and somehow expand the enclaves when the enemy can attack at will with only aerial attack a worry.

Basically, give the enemy time to prepare to attack us. Man, oh man. This is simply a prescription to have the enemy pounce on these oil spots. While offensive operations alone cannot work without securing the population, just sitting in the population centers won't work either.

Of course, perhaps the author just ran out of space before he could get to the other unidentified great ideas out there. Or perhaps it is behind the Great Wall of the NYT where they put their premium authors' columns.