Monday, April 10, 2006

Why Iraq Was A Mistake–A Military View

Supporters of the war try to write off opposition as coming from far leftists who would leave America defenseless. They typically fail to respond to any of the arguments based upon how the Iraq war has weakened our national security and strengthened adversaries such as al Qaeda and Iran. We oppose the war out of a desire for a stronger defense–not a weaker one.

It is always helpful to dispell these right wing myths about opposition to the war when men with military experience speak out against the war. Time has an article by Lt. General Gregory Newbold, Retired director of operations at the Pentagon’s military joint staff, on Why Iraq Was a Mistake (which Pamela also quoted under the fold in an earlier post at The Democratic Daily):

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.


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