Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Recycled arguments

I was going to write a long article, taking Chap to task for spewing forth the same tired old wisdom about how invading Iraq, set the Middle East up for great things in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Then I remembered that I had already done it.

Its a good theory, but it ignores the fact that Yassir Arafat did more for Middle East progress by having the decency to die......

And besides, Professor Bainbridge has already done the work on this so I won't have to. He summarizes things much better than I can:

The trouble with Bush's justification for the war is that it uses American troops as fly paper. Send US troops over to Iraq, where they'll attract all the terrorists, who otherwise would have come here, and whom we'll then kill. This theory has proven fallacious. The first problem is that the American people are unwilling to let their soldiers be used as fly paper. If Iraq has proven anything, it has confirmed for me the validity of the Powell Doctrine.

Essentially, the Doctrine expresses that military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target; the force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.Powell based this strategy for warfare in part on the views held by his former boss in the Reagan administration, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and also on his own experience as a major in Vietnam. That protracted campaign, in Powell's view, was representative of a war in which public support was flimsy, the military objectives were not clear, overwhelming force was not used consistently, and an exit strategy was ill defined.

Sounds a lot like Iraq doesn't it? Public support for the war is sliding. We're not using a fraction of our military potential, and there seems to be no clear viable long-term goal or exit strategy. (Skippy-comment, I slightly disagree with his conclusion here, quite simply the effort is being under-resourced because DOD is hell bent not to increase troop strength and has been since before 9-11).

He sums up my feelings exactly when he says:

I haven't changed my mind about cutting and running. I still think that's probably the worst possible strategy. But I'm very angry at Bush for having gotten us into this mess in the first place. And, as per the Powell doctrine, I do think it's time for the administration to come up with both a viable long-term goal and a clear exit strategy.




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