politics, history and the war on terror
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Proper Criticism 

While the antiwar left and the isolationist right scream of lies, conspiracies, wars for empire and wars for oil, it appears the neoconservatives are one of the only groups in America which is capable of voicing coherent criticism of President Bush's implementation of the Iraq war and its reconstruction. Robert Kagan and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard (the premier voice of neoconservatives) argue troop deployments in Iraq are insufficient to meet the goals for securing Iraq and establishing democracy, and this is the result of poor planning by the Pentagon:

The shortage of troops in Iraq is the product of a string of bad calculations and a hefty dose of wishful thinking. Above all, it is the product of Rumsfeld's fixation on high-tech military "transformation," his hostility to manpower-intensive nation-building in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, and his refusal to increase the overall size of the military in the first place. The results are plain to see: We are trying to carry out Bush's post-9/11 foreign policy with Clinton's pre-9/11 military. It is a wonderful military, but it is too small for our responsibilities in the post-9/11 world. As a result, it will not be easy to find the additional brigades to send to Iraq. Troubling reductions in our deployments elsewhere will be required, and an already stressed military will be asked to do more still. Unfortunately, there is no choice.

The criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is harsh yet respectful:

The question is whether Rumsfeld and his generals have learned from past mistakes. Or rather, perhaps, the question is whether George W. Bush has learned from Rumsfeld's past mistakes. After all, at the end of the day, it is up to the president to ensure that the success he demands in Iraq will in fact be accomplished. If his current secretary of defense cannot make the adjustments that are necessary, the president should find one who will.

Robert Kagan and William Kristol argue that troop deployments in Iraq should be increased by about 30,000 to provide for proper security and reconstruction. In light of recent evens in Iraq, they may be right. This is the type of constructive criticism that helps improve the war effort and does not further the goals of our enemy.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:00 PM