Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Sunday, May 09, 2004
Go to the new DM blog.



Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the year in western Iraq, said he believes that at the tactical level at which fighting occurs, the U.S. military is still winning. But when asked whether he believes the United States is losing, he said, "I think strategically, we are."

Army Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first director of strategic planning for the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad, said he agrees with that view and noted that a pattern of winning battles while losing a war characterized the U.S. failure in Vietnam. "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in our policy, we will lose strategically," he said in an interview Friday.

"I lost my brother in Vietnam," added Hughes, a veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating Iraq policy. "I promised myself, when I came on active duty, that I would do everything in my power to prevent that [sort of strategic loss] from happening again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."

We are involved in what Boyd called a moral conflict. In fact, I believe we have already lost. We could not win it by torturing prisoners. We could not win it by killing more of "them" than they kill of us. We could not win by lying about our reasons for this war. That is not how you win moral conflicts.

I'm glad some senior military leadership is experiencing an ephiphany about the tactical/strategic dichotomy we face in Iraq. I hope they, and eventually all commanders and the American people, realize very soon that the only thing left to do is make the best of a terrible situation and choose the least bad option.

I keep hearing folks say "failure is not an option". Sorry, but it's not a choice any more. The United States has failed to balance the evil of war with a positive outcome in Iraq. The only question now is how do we deal with our failure.

We missed our window of opportunity to make things right through BushCo's incompetence, arrogance, and lack of planning. I have argued time and again that our troops simply must leave Iraq. I more firmly believe that now than I did last year.


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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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