LISTENING TO THE GENERALS:
A US military review of strategy in Iraq is likely to back a limited troop increase focused on training, officials have told the Washington Post.
Senior defence officials said a review panel appeared to favour an option dubbed “Go Long”, the paper reported.
Other plans – “Go Big” and “Go Home” – were seen as less plausible, the officials said.
See also this post by Austin Bay: “if re-casting and re-stating helps nudge sober and responsible politicians into a war-fighting consensus, good.”
Plus, an Iraqi perspective: “The government stinksâ€”thatâ€™s the overwhelming impression that is undermining the public’s support for the government and its institutions.”
UPDATE: Reader Sheri Wild emails:
So apparently, Don Rumsfeld, who was constantly accused of not listening to his commanders in the field, took the rap because he was . . . er, listening to his commanders in the field! I guess he fell on his sword for appearances’ sake, so that when General Abizaid said what he’s evidently been saying all along, it would get reported as if it were something new. Nice.
Indeed. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Rumsfeld was ready to go anyway. He’s been there a long time, he’s no spring chicken, and he’s taken a lot of abuse, even for a guy as thick-skinned as him. Meanwhile, an interesting statistical look at Rumsfeld’s track record:
In the full sweep of U.S history, from the commencement of the Revolution on Lexington Green in April 1775, until the sunny morning of September 11, 2001, our average daily sacrifice has been between 14 and 15 military fatalities (1,217,000 fatalities/83,461 days = 14.6/day). Since 9/11, the average daily sacrifice has been 1.7 per day (3200/1900=1.68).
From the Revolutionary War until the American entry into World War I, the average daily rate was about 11 per day (578,000/52,231=11.07). From World War I through the break up of the Soviet Union, the rate was over 16 per day (636,000/38,811=16.39). Or in our long running confrontation with Soviet communism following World War II until the collapse of the Soviet empire, the rate was over between 6 and 7 per day (112,400/16,892=6.65).
As things stand, the conflict with Islamic radicalism involves the lowest average daily military fatality rate of any long run national security era. It may worsen, it may improve. If Congress had been asked on September 12, 2001, to endorse a national defense posture against Islamic radicalism that traded up to 2 military fatalities per day over the subsequent five years in return for no additional homeland attacks, the deposing of terror friendly regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the ending of Libya’s nuclear program, what would they have done? Would Congress accept that bargain today?
Interesting. Read the whole thing.