War is Hell
With apologies to Howard Beale and the movie Network, “I am mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore!” Whew, that felt good. Now let me tell you what I am talking about. The Iraq War plan, or lack thereof. I thought we learned a lesson in Vietnam. I thought we had a president who learned something from his dad. I thought our generals understood that to win a war, it is always good to have more soldiers on the ground than the enemy. I thought our civilian leadership was business orientated enough to understand that if something is not working, you change what you are doing. You do not continue to do more of the same, or “stay the course.” I thought we were a country who would demand accountability of our leaders if they made horrendous decisions.
I am not going to get into all of the whys for going to war. That will be for the historians to sort out. But let’s look at the how. And what our civilian leadership has thrust upon our proud military people in Afghanistan and Iraq. How come we did not adhere to the Powell Doctrine of Overwhelming Force? Why did we leave the job of securing Tora Bora in Afghanistan to local warlords and not do it ourselves? Maybe with US forces, Osama bin Laden would not have been able to bribe his way out of there.
I believe that the decision to go “light and fast” and overwhelm Iraq with “shock and awe” has been a disaster. I mean, am I missing something here? If we are subduing an enemy, doesn’t it make sense that once you take over a town, you leave enough soldiers in place to keep order and peace? Hasn’t that been a central problem in our war effort? I have seen time and time again where we have had to return to cities and refight battles that had already been won. Why did we not leave sufficient soldiers there in the first place? Why is the Taliban again a powerful force in Afghanistan? The reason is simple. We did not send enough soldiers in the first place because we wanted to change the way the United States fights wars and prove that “light and fast’ was a viable strategy. Well Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush, that strategy has failed! Now what?
One of the reasons I have heard time and time again as to why there were no WMD found in Iraq was because Saddam smuggled them across the border to Syria. Why was not that border surveilled and secured before the war? Isn’t surrounding and containing your enemy a central war fighting strategy? I have been told that we were unable to do this, again, because we lacked sufficient troops.
Now I understand that many people believe that the US people would never have signed on for a war where more than 500,000 people would be needed. I understand that we would never have supported a draft to invade Iraq.. But isn’t that the point? If we as a people would not or could not support a strategy whereby we recruit and send enough people to accomplish the task, why did we go? This was the Vietnam issue. We were unwilling then and we are unwilling now to do what it takes to truly win a war like this.
Someone much smarter than I once said “War is hell.” That’s because to win a war you are going to have to kill a lot of folks. Look at WWII. Many innocent people lost their lives, but the world believed in the cause so people were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to win. That was not true in Vietnam and it is not true in Iraq. Our government has let us down again. When will they be held accountable?
Thanks, it feels good to get that off my chest.
technorati tags:Iraq War, Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell Doctrine, Taliban
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