Monday, April 10, 2006

Lt. Gen. Newbold: Iraq Was a Mistake

This article in Time shows us yet another military leader critical of the Bush Administration and its reckless invasion of Iraq: Lt. General Gregory Newbold (Ret.) of the United States Marine Corps. This is no radical peacenik talking--this is a dedicated, loyal, patriotic Marine. He's sick and tired of the arrogance, lying, double-talk, and evasion of responsibility coming out of Bush and his people. Key graphs:
I will admit my own prejudice: my deep affection and respect are for those who volunteer to serve our nation and therefore shoulder, in those thin ranks, the nation's most sacred obligation of citizenship. To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it.

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.
Whew! Did you catch that last line? General Newbold NAILED it. This war and its tragically bungled management were the product of men who've never had to face combat. (And, who by the way, don't hesitate to impugn the patriotism of any combat veteran who dares to oppose them.) General Newbold's article is a scathing indictment. Read all of it and tell me what you think.

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