Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 12, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

RUMSFELD AND THE WAR....Andrew Sullivan again berates Donald Rumsfeld for not committing enough troops to the invasion and occupation of Iraq:

What's important to understand is that this is a deliberate policy. Although we were morally responsible for security in a country we invaded, we chose not to provide it....What we are watching today are the consequences of the Rumsfeld decision. The question is whether a critical mass of Iraqis can rescue their own country from the chaos the occupation provoked and appears incapable of suppressing.

Why do people keep saying stuff like this? The fact is that we didn't, and don't, have any more troops. Rumsfeld's misjudgment wasn't that he decided to use fewer troops than he could have, his misjudgment was in thinking that the occupation could be pulled off successfully with the troops we had available.

Bottom line: if you argue that we needed more troops in order to invade and occupy Iraq properly, you're just arguing that we shouldn't have invaded and occupied Iraq at all. When will conservative supporters of the war own up to this?

POSTSCRIPT: Actually, Rumsfeld's primary misjudgment seems to have been his genuine belief that the occupation would be such a cakewalk that we'd need only a token presence in Iraq after the main fighting was over. But even if he had been more realistic about this, it wouldn't have mattered. He didn't have any more troops to commit.

People who subscribe to the notion that the war was a good idea but was just executed badly really ought to train their fire on Rumsfeld/Cheney/Bush's decision to kick out Jay Garner early on and then disband the Iraqi army. If you could pick any one thing that might have given us at least a small chance of success in Iraq, that's it.

Kevin Drum 1:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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