The Guardian is running a long, but really good, analysis of where we stand in terms of military strategy in Iraq: How the Pentagon’s promise of a quick war ran into the desert sand. It describes Rumsfeld as being inclined to continue pushing for a quick assault on the defenses of Baghdad, rather than waiting for the arrival of the reinforcements that the Army is saying it needs.
I get a bad feeling about this. It’s way too Vietnam-esque. You have a civilian leadership that feels invested in an overly optimistic plan, and a military feeling like it is being denied what it needs in order to win.
The easy victory is not going to happen. The Army is going to say the only way they can win this is by killing a buttload of civilians, and Rumsfeld, Cheyney and Bush are then going to have an ugly choice: personal political failure, or mass murder of the Iraqi population. They will reliably choose the latter. And even having made that choice, and having chosen to ignore that part of the war’s cost, there will still be a terrible price to pay.
With Vietnam, it took 60,000 dead Americans, a million dead Vietnamese, and an uncountable number of additional shattered lives before the fighting stopped.
Excuse me: Can I have my Powell Doctrine back now?