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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

 

new manifestation of the same problem


the new york times once again is breaking open a heart-stopping story of incompetency, but i would submit that it's just more old news.

it's been said before -- rumsfeld willfully, in an effort to recreate the american military along his ideological lines, refused the advice of his generals and underallocated resources and manpower in both afghanistan and iraq. rummy wished to successfully run the war on the cheap because cheap wars means more wars -- and rummy feels we have many wars to fight. he (and we) are now finding just how wrong he was to do so.

the details are laid out in seymour hersh's book (which should be mandatory pre-november 2 reading):

several senior war planners complained to me in interviews at the time that... rumsfeld and his inner circle of civilian advisers, who had been chiefly responsible for persuading president bush to lead the country to war, had insisted on micromanaging the war's operational details. rumsfeld's team took over crucial aspects of the day-to-day logistical planning -- traditionally an area in which the uniformed military excels -- and rumsfeld repeatedly overruled the senior pentagon planners on the joint staff, the operating arm of the joint chiefs of staff. "he thought he knew better," one senior planner said. "he was the decision maker throughout."

on at least six occasions, the planner told me, when rumsfeld and his deputies were presented with operational plans... he insisted that the number of ground troops be sharply reduced. rumsfeld's faith in precision bombing and his insistence on streamlined military operations has had profound consequences for the ability of the armed forces to fight effectively overseas. "they've got no resources," a former high-level intelligence official said. "he was so focused on proving his point -- that the iraqis were going to fall apart."
while a small american strike force supported by JDAMs and cruise missiles can clearly win a battle, it cannot win a war -- and it is now in the process of losing wars on two fronts. all of this -- an expanding iraqi-nationalist insurgency, endless looting of sites military and cultural, open borders over which men and arms can freely travel -- is part of how these wars are being lost.

and they are being lost because of rumsfeld's delusions on points of warfare and war planning he cannot admit he doesn't understand as well as the generals he contemptuously belittles and insists on micromanaging without utilizing their expertise.

part 2


talking points memo addresses the "they were gone when we got there" argument being forwarded by the white house. conclusion (mine): specious, at best.

and irrelevant besides. regardless of when they were lost, they were a known quantity for years prior -- and should have been tracked, as with all such caches, meticulously in the run-up to invasion. that this was not done speaks volumes about the misguided priorities of the bush administration in this invasion.

 
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