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Sunday, July 04, 2004

A Must Read

(not the tripe written here, follow the link)

Everyone who wants to vote in the coming presidential election should be forced to read James Fallows’ piece in The Atlantic Monthly, Blind Into Baghdad. If anyone has another suggestion of one single piece of outstanding journalism that would help clarify the matter of the war in Iraq I would be happy to read it. Fallows has written the best work of reporting on this war that I have read to date. If you don’t read this you are not getting a highly important look at the war.

Not only is it evident that the Bush administration mislead the American people concerning the motivations for entering this war, their war doctrine of ‘less is better’ jeopardized American lives and our success in bringing about a stable Iraq after the initial phase of conflict.

The Bush administration’s obsession with weapons of mass destruction seems to have blinded them to weapons of individual destruction. The fact that we went into Iraq with insufficient numbers to pacify and disarm the population has set the course for the heavy casualties our troops have incurred. It is not nerve gas that is killing American GI’s, it is RPG’s, AK 47’s, and artillery shells used as booby traps. The U.S. military did almost nothing to deprive the insurgents of an almost limitless cache of conventional weapons.

Fallows makes clear that this poor planning was not the fault of the military but of Rumsfeld’s insistence on doing the war on the cheap. Anyone who disagreed with his policy of using fewer rather than more troops was replaced or ignored.

In retrospect I think that perhaps our biggest failure in Iraq was not to stop the looting that occurred directly after the initial invasion. Military war planners had anticipated this so it wasn’t as if it came as a surprise. Imagine yourself as an Iraqi citizen. Imagine witnessing the destruction of almost every bit of government infrastructure while U.S, forces sat back and did nothing to stop it. Fallow writes that the U.S. forces could have easily stopped the looting, they simply were not told to do so. Why?

So here we are one year and four months after the invasion and about the only positive spin the Bush people can put on this is to say that at least Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. I don’t think Bush could have persuaded the American people to invade Iraq if that was the only benefit we would receive.

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