FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas: Here in this Western outpost that serves as the intellectual center of the U.S. Army, two elite officers were deep in debate at lunch on a recent day over who bore more responsibility for mistakes in Iraq - the former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, or the generals who acquiesced to him.
"The secretary of defense is an easy target," argued one of the officers, Major Kareem Montague, 34, a Harvard graduate and a commander in the Third Infantry Division that was the first to reach Baghdad in the 2003 invasion. "It's easy to pick on the political appointee."
"But he's the one that's responsible," retorted Major Michael J. Zinno, 40, a military planner who worked at the headquarters of the Coalitional Provisional Authority, the former American civilian administration in Iraq.
The size of the initial invasion force should have been bigger assuming we should have done the invasion. But that's a big assumption. Also, we didn't just need a bigger invasion force. We really needed a far larger army to occupy Iraq. But to build up an army big enough for occupation was an obstacle to invasion that George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, and Lewis Libby didn't want to deal with.
But the questions about the needed size of the military force in Iraq are a distraction from two far more important questions. First, should we have invaded in the first place? That's an easy question: No. We harmed and did not advance American interests by invading Iraq. Yet at the end of the article we find that these officers do not know whether the war should have been fought in the first place. We have tons of evidence with which to judge that question now. These officers are very disappointing.
Second, the biggest question we face today is whether we should pull out our forces. To put it another way: what justification is there for keeping soldiers in Iraq with about 100 dying per month and about 5 or 6 times that number injured? How are we being made safer by this? I think this war is worse than pointless. It does not make us safer. These officers should justify why the US military should be used or they should advocate for withdrawal.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 October 13 09:59 PM Mideast Iraq Blame Game|