The shock’s on us
Before President George W. Bush decided to
lead the nation into war with Iraq, it was an open question as to whether an
administration whose domestic policies are a blueprint for economic disaster
could do a better job in world diplomacy.
The answer turned out to be "No."
Then the question was whether the
administration could execute a swift, smart military intervention in Iraq.
The answer is unfolding every day for
everyone to see. It is not the "Shock and Awe" that the administration
This is not the 100-hour Persian Gulf War
in which the United States and its allies pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait with
overwhelming numbers of troops and fighting machines.
This is looking like a war designed to be
fought on the cheap. This is looking like a war in which the administration
forgot the lessons of Vietnam.
The war began with too few U.S. troops and
too little equipment on the ground. It is being fought against an enemy that was
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his
military planners put 75,000 troops inside Iraq to conquer a country the size of
California with a population of 22 million, a behemoth compared to tiny Kuwait
America’s technological superiority was supposed to overcome the lopsided
numbers. Iraq, a corrupt tyranny, was supposed to crumble like old parchment.
Yet, 400-mile long supply-lines are
stretched thin between Kuwait and Baghdad. Fedayeen in southern cities are
putting up unexpectedly stiff resistance. Sleepless American soldiers near
Baghdad have no backup units to spell them, and thin food stores.
Little more than a week into the war, the
administration decided to ship more troops, more tanks and other fighting
vehicles to Iraq. It could take more than two months for them to arrive.
It’s widely reported that Rumsfeld, a fan
of untested theories of light modern warfare, repeatedly rejected the counsel of
generals, who advised greater numbers of troops and heavy armored fighting
vehicles. Rejection of such belt-and-suspenders advice defies common sense. It
may have needlessly lengthened the war and put more American lives at risk.
Rumsfeld denies that anything has not gone
as planned. The president agrees.
If this was the plan all along, then the
shock’s on us. And, it is we who are awed at the level of bungling.