Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sorry, Rummy. He's Right.

Fred Kagan outlines Donald Rumsfeld's failures without resorting to namecalling or Bush-bashing.

It is not that Rumsfeld's decisions were without a rationale. The secretary of defense simply chose to prioritize preparing America's military for future conventional conflict rather than for the current mission. That position, based on the hope that the current mission would be of short duration and the recognition that the future may arrive at any moment, is understandable. It just turns out to have been wrong.

Hanson reminds us that American forces in World War II, and in many other conflicts, had to fight with imperfect weapons and under imperfect conditions. All quite true. But in no previous American war has the chief of the military administration refused to focus on the war at hand, preferring programs that could not help soldiers then in the fight to survive and win. Even Robert McNamara, engaged in a "sideshow" war in an otherwise irrelevant theater, did not imagine that he could focus his efforts on preparing to meet the Red Army in the Fulda Gap at the expense of supporting our troops in Indochina.

If Kerry had coldly outlined his Iraqi position in this manner, he would be president today.

(Link via Andrew Sullivan)


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