Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stupid is as stupid doesn't

Guest post by Capt. Fogg

There may be more than one cause of the growing chaos in Iraq but none of the possibilities is called "lack of resolve". The lack of a realistic plan for post-Saddam Iraq may seem hard to explain. It had little to do with any need for haste since there was no need for the war; a fact that has been well enough established to satisfy most anyone but the most jingoistic Bush supporters. The lack of planning stems either from the stupidity of Don Rumsfeld, who perhaps thought that a peaceful, orderly and western liberal democracy would spontaneously emerge, or from the nefarious plan of Don Rumsfeld and the Bush administration, who needed the chaos as part of a war for war's sake, oil's sake, or the sake of power itself. The scenario I find most compelling is the latter, but either way we have quagmire as deep and sticky as was envisioned by cooler, smarter, and more honest heads.

The latest in the long list of retiring generals blowing whistles is Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps. At the time of the 9/11 attacks he had been selected as the chief of logistics war plans and as such could be expected to have an interest in war plans and logistics, but, according to Scheid, Rumsfeld threatened to fire the next person who even talked about the need for a post-war plan. Rumsfeld did make good on that threat by firing Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, for suggesting that a plan should include several hundred thousand troops. Regardless of Rumsfeld's motivations or Rumsfelds secret plans or machinations, this decision, this insistence that we would get in and get out without needing an occupation has been the biggest military blunder since the Vietnam War. Does it really matter if Rumsfeld's decisions were stupid or nefarious? Either way, we lose. Either way, he is a danger.

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us," said Scheid to the
Hampton Roads Daily Press, "that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave. We won't stay." We stayed. We may yet stay for years or decades or we may be forced out and have to face the consequences of what our administration has done. Of course, we can press for his resignation, we can vote in enough Democrats this November to impeach George W. Bush, but we still have a very long road ahead of us if we want to survive as a free country in a world that isn't at our throat.

(Ed. note: For our previous post on Scheid and Rumsfeld, see here. -- MJWS)

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