Skip to comments.DONALD H. RUMSFELD: One Surge Does Not Fit All
Posted on 11/23/2008 1:06:35 PM PST by neverdem
THE surge in Iraq has been one of the most impressive military accomplishments in recent years. It has been so successful that the emerging consensus is that what may now be needed in Afghanistan is a similar surge of American forces. President-elect Barack Obama campaigned on his intention to do so, as did his former opponent, John McCain.
As one who is occasionally and incorrectly portrayed as an opponent of the surge in Iraq, I believe that while the surge has been effective in Iraq, we must also recognize the conditions that made it successful. President Bushs bold decision to deploy additional troops to support a broader counterinsurgency strategy of securing and protecting the Iraqi people was clearly the right decision. More important, though, it was the right decision at the right time.
By early 2007, several years of struggle had created the new conditions for a tipping point:
Al Qaeda in Iraqs campaign of terrorism and intimidation had turned its Sunni base of support against it. The result was the so-called Anbar Awakening in the late summer of 2006, followed by similar awakening movements across Iraq.
From 2003 through 2006, United States military forces, under the leadership of Gen. John Abizaid and Gen. George Casey, inflicted huge losses on the Baathist and Qaeda leadership. Many thousands of insurgents, including the Qaeda chief in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, were captured or killed and proved difficult to replace.
The Iraqi Security Forces had achieved cohesion, improved operational effectiveness and critical mass. By December 2006, some 320,000 Iraqis had been trained, equipped and deployed, producing the forces necessary to help hold difficult neighborhoods against the enemy. By 2007, the surge, for most Iraqis, could have an Iraqi face.
And the political scene in Iraq had shifted...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
My only problem with what you wrote was that if that was voiced during that time period, and even leading into the 2004 election, you stood a good chance of being run out of Free Republic Dodge for speaking heresay.
Such frank and honest talk would not have been tolerated.
Nobody knows that, not even you. Britain won World War II under the leadership of Churchill. What did the British people do after the war? They threw out Churchill and the Conservatives and in their place voted in Labor.
Waging a war is not like baking a cake: put in the ingredients according to measure, bake at the specified temperature and time, and out comes a perfect cake. Wars never go according to plan. There are always mistakes made in any war. It often takes time to find the right combination of strategy and tactics.
He blew it with the constant drip of bad news coming out of Iraq in 2005-2006.
Rumsfield did not control the news cycle. The media hated Bush and they hated his foreign policy because it involved waging war. The news media did what they could to bring defeat in Iraq just like they did in Viet Nam. And I might add it may be too early to declare victory in Iraq.
Does it matter if it is true or not?
At that time, no.
Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! Rumsfeld will likely never get his due, but he was a brilliant Secretary of Defense. And Bush was and is a brilliant CIC.
As much as I absolutely LOATHE the New York Times, my hat is off to them for publishing this. It is more than advice for Afghanistan. It is a defense by Rumsfeld of his policies in Iraq. We are fighting a war of attrition, and in such encounters one wagers on the tortoise rather than the hare. Bush and Rumsfeld waited patiently until the time was right. In the interim, they made little headway militarily but my very strong sense is that in the interim we exacted a huge and ongoing toll on the enemy.
Thank goodness we did not station tens or hundreds of thousands of more soldiers there at the beginning. They would have done little incremental good (except to make for more targets and more friction) and they would have taxed our military greatly.
I learned one other thing in this article, which is that Rumsfeld thinks that President-Elect Obama has no real hope of winning in Afghanistan, and will rue the day when he said that Afghanistan should be the focus of our WOT.
Really, aside from using this as a battleground to exterminate jihadists, what is the national security significance of this backwater? As long as the terrorists can not use this as a training ground, what stake do we have in its success? If we win over Afghanistan, is the WOT won? Uh ... I think not.
General Petraeus will make sure it’s done properly, if he’s permitted.
Rumsfeld got a lot right, but he also got a good bit wrong. Trying to modernize and streamline the military during a war was ill advised.
Allowing the politicians to dictate terms during the first assault on Fallujah was deadly to way too many Marines and other heroic soldiers.
My two cents worth...
The Dems have been carping about Afghanistan for several years; now they have to actually do something.
Do they have the sensitivity to move ahead with a long-term goal in mind? Dems by nature are impetuous, with their eye more on winning a next election than ensuring the nation's security.
Rusmfeld is right on in this article. What worked in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan. I think the Dems are in for a rough time.
Exit poll survey confirms partisan shift the printer friendly link
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I couldn't agree more with you. I am a huge Rumsfeld fan. I also liked very much how he dealt with idiotic questions from the media.
My mil pals are equally impressed over his not only having "gone with the military we got"; but that he did an entire redesign of the military WHILE we were fighting a war. And as a consequence, the military has a much meaner, leaner, far more rapid-response military.
Yours: Lastly, I would note that with regard to the great work our military did prior to the surge - there was one factor that has not been widely discussed. Simply put, when Bob Woodruff was blown up by an Al Qaeada IED in early 2006 - that aided the war effort immensely. The reason is that after Woodruff got hurt, the MSM stopped sending cameramen into the war zone. The subsequent lack of nightly war footage enabled our troops to take the gloves off - as is discussed in the Michael Totten article.
You are RIGHT.
And this is also when the MSM tried "titillating" the masses with the assertion that the US Military were firing upon journalists.
Do you think Obama even knows the Table of Ogranization and Equipment of an Army Brigade?
“Do you think Obama even knows the Table of Ogranization and Equipment of an Army Brigade?”
Of course not; to him two brigades “are a bunch of soldiers.”
Thanks for the ping!