Rumsfeld has again laid bare the hollowness of the Dems strategy on the war. Rumsfeld calling our enemy “Fascists”, something most average Americans would not contest, and drawing parallels with others in history who chose to ignore the threat fascists pose has left the Dems with three options:
- Agree our enemies are fascists, but say it’s not that big a deal and thereby play to their type as weak on national security,
- Agree and propose a vigorous policy to defeat these fascists and thus lose their nutroots and any hope of electoral victory this election,
- Decry such remarks against the good patriotic freedom loving wannabe American Revolutionary (pick one or more based on the war) Soviet, N. Korean, N. Vietnamese, Iraqi, Iranian, terrorist, (enemy in the next conflict) people we are wrongly fighting thus making the Dems look not only weak but also insane (this is the option they seem to be choosing, I guess so they are at least in good company with their base).
As the Dems realize they put their collective foot in their mouth again, they are beginning to lash out at Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Rove and all those simpletons who keep tricking them into saying stupid things. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid decided to respond with what liberals consider history, take their current policy preference, slap “history shows” in front of it, and presto; much easier than spending hours upon hours reading and understanding history you must agree. He brought up that favorite of lefty charges, that Rumsfeld had ignored “military experts when he rushed to war without enough troops” (the full press release is here). Only this time, Rumsfeld is alleged to have ignored history as well.
First off, the reason why this assertion is so ridiculous is that you cannot say history always shows you should always send more soldiers. Even a cursory study of history would reveal that this is dependant on the situation. So what the argument should be is history shows more soldiers were needed for reasons x, y, and z, which compares with historical outcomes a, b, and c. The second thing to note is that there are “military experts” who would advise against any chosen course of action. It is simply impossible to do something that does not contravene a “military expert” selected by your political opponents. My views on this charge are a bit light because I link to posts I wrote before about them that are far far more detailed.
The claim that Rumsfeld did not send as many soldiers as were needed is highly questionable at best. I know this is the core liberal claim against the policy in Iraq as they think it allows them to sound tough while also opposing the President’s policy. Yes, they do have generals on their side, although it must be noted that their two highest profile generals, Clark and Shinseki, ended their careers in ignominy (both had been prepped for it during the Clinton years, although in Shinseki’s case they had to wait until Bush was in office to execute it, no it had nothing to do with Iraq). I wrote a post, "Echoes of the Sicilian Expedition" about that telling historical analogy that shows why I think sending 300,000 soldiers would have caused many more problems for us than it solved (it’s a long post, too long to copy here but well worth a read I would say). Essentially, we needed enough soldiers to keep the Sunni revanchists from winning while we established a Shiite-Kurdish security force without sending so many soldiers that we caused the majority of Iraqis to believe that, as lefties in the West told them, we were there to colonize their country and steal their oil.
Added to this is the simple fact that the logistical situation in the region precluded invading with more than 80,000 soldiers that would build to 150,000 over 6-7 months. True it would have been better had Saudi Arabia and especially Turkey gone along, but that wasn’t Rumsfeld’s job. That was Powell’s job and he botched it horribly (some, including me, would add willingly). Granted, the Democrats apparently think Okinawa makes a suitable base of operations for the Persian Gulf, so I can understand why they don’t realize this but I’m discussing reality here. Also, there is the simple fact that our military is of a certain size and can only support so many soldiers on continuous deployment. The Dems will say aha, we support 40,000 extra soldiers. As I wrote in another post,"The 40,000 soldier question", that is not the best way to go and is opposed by the generals for several good reasons (i.e. the “military experts” the civilian leadership is supposed to obey, although that may only be when they support the Dems so maybe it’s ok to ignore them here; lefties?). Basically, our main problem is that we do not have enough combat soldiers and the ones we have are in the wrong fields (artillery instead of recon or military police and even Air Force bomb loader instead of Air Force light infantry). Correcting that should be the priority.
The Democrat position on these topics is just a modern updated version of the original Democrat war policy, the “McClellan Doctrine” of 1861. What the McClellan Doctrine calls for is massive overwhelming firepower to fight any enemy. The problem is that it requires such a preponderance of firepower that in practice it is impossible to ever achieve it. As Lincoln commented about McClellan (not an exact quote), I gave him 200,000 men and he asks for 500,000, if I gave him that he would ask for 1 million, if I gave him that he would ask for 2 million. It wasn’t until McClellan was sidelined that decisive, though non-overwhelming, force was utilized to accomplish something. What Lincoln and Rumsfeld understand that the McClellan Democrats then and now do not is that an army has to be used in a non-perfect situation because a perfect situation will never occur.